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January Primer: No New Year’s Hangover allowed!

The ball has dropped, and so has Villa. January will drive 2018.

Derby County v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship
Oh dear...
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

One month ago I published a look at the critical month of December — Holiday Six Pack.

“When the calendar flips to 2018 the campaign will be over the halfway point and Aston Villa could be in the hunt for the top of the table or out of the fight for automatic promotion or anywhere in between.”

Well turns out the beers were skunked, the holidays ruined (from a football perspective, at least) & there was coal in the stocking. Without listing another half dozen sad holiday metaphors -- December was miserable. It was the exact month that Villa could not afford to have and that is even with finding a win in the final match of the year.

January can change everything though — both on an off the field. I’m sure transfer rumors will be as prominent as champagne toasts but — while one or two could make a difference — the talent is the club. The playoffs are very much in reach — but the team needs to play better.

  • Steve Bruce was combative in his post match comments about the fans’ unrest, “I hope it shuts a few people up again. It becomes very annoying being a week away from a crisis.” That is certainly one way to try to get people behind him -- a bit like calling his bench on Saturday “barebones.”
  • John Terry is expected to be back in the squad for the FA Cup match in the first week of January.
  • Reports are Sam Johnston won’t be with Villa for long. Won’t be the last in/out rumor or move.

December: Winter Freeze

December was important enough that Aston Villa created a graphic for the matches. So now I get to updated to remind myself just how bad the month was. Top teams challenged and beat Aston Villa. There was very little fight with a glimmer of hope at the end.

December 2017

Player of the month: James Chester. The defender has been a rock at the back — no matter the changing cast of characters playing next to him. Villa are lucky to have him.

December Table

No.

OK.... fine.

January Table

# Club Points Wins Draws Losses
# Club Points Wins Draws Losses
1 Wolves 58 18 4 3
2 Derby County 48 14 6 5
3 Bristol City 47 13 8 4
4 Cardiff City 47 14 5 6
5 Leeds United 42 13 3 9
6 Sheff Utd 41 13 2 10
7 Aston Villa 41 11 8 6
8 Preston 40 10 10 5
9 Middlesbrough 38 11 5 9
10 Brentford 37 9 10 6

January:

Jan 1st Bristol City

Jan 6th Peterborough (FA Cup 3rd round)

Jan 13th @ Nottm Forest

Jan 20th Barnsley

Jan 30th @ Sheff Utd (edit -- match was moved from the 27th because of United’s FA Cup Fixture)