A month ago Villa had dropped in form and table; fans knew that the club had to have a strong January to even be in the promotion talk.
A reflection on a rough December —
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.
And boy did it.
January: New Year Bump
The worries were high coming into 2018 but the team responded very well.
Jan 1st Bristol City 5 - 0 Win
Jan 6th Peterborough United 1 - 3 Loss (FA Cup)
Jan 13th @ Nottingham Forest 0 - 1 Win
Jan 20th Barnsley 3 - 1 Win
Jan 30th @ Sheffield United 0 - 1 Win
The FA Cup loss was a poor showing in a competition that Villa often cite in the trophy count — but that can’t take the shine off four wins in league play including two tough road fixtures.
Player of the Month: Jack Grealish.
Hear me out if you just (totally justifiably) just shouted Birkir Bjarnason’s name at your computer/phone. Jack, now 22-year-old (I feel old), has come into his own having been given the freedom to play in the midfield. It has been great to see him contributing on both wings — while also dropping very deep to pick up the ball. The man has dictated the attack and appears to be living up to the potential that Villans have since since his days playing with the youth squad.
Bjarnason has been fantastic in the holding role since coming on at half of the Nottingham Forest matchup to replace Glenn Whelan -- and added his first goal as a sub in the January 1 match. BB deserves an honorable mention and more — if giving co-players of the month wasn’t such a cop-out.
Couple of quick news notes to round up the month:
- Aston Villa made one move on Deadline Day bringing in Louis Grabban on loan from Bournemouth for the rest of the season.
- Contract Rumblings: Hutton, reportedly, not to be offered a new deal after his contract expires this summer.
- Match fixtures against Wolves and Hull matches have been moved. So has Easter weekend’s match-up against Reading in April.
Feb 3rd Burton
Feb 11th Birmingham (TV)
Feb 17th @ Fulham
Feb 20th Preston
Feb 24th @ Sheffield Wednesday
Obviously the derby stands out — and it will be a wild affair as always and one where anything can happen. Villa need to take care of business against bottom of the table Burton to start the month of strong. Away to Fulham is the toughest of the bunch -- but all-in-all there are points to be had in the second month of the year — as Villa look to achieve the second spot in the table.
In conclusion, here is the video of Snodgrass’ brilliant goal again... because I can’t stop watching it.
And I did a whole post about February without mentioning Valentine’s Day. Because it is stupid.