Aston Villa delivered, quite possibly, their best result in recent years by defying a dominant first half from a Sheffield Wednesday side to run out as 4-2 winners. Deservedly so, as well. Villa’s team spirit at Hillsborough was fluid and viscous, even without Jack Grealish and Albert Adomah. After slumping against Fulham and Preston, Villa’s result last weekend has given them a platform to once again chase automatic promotion from the Championship.
However, they are still four points behind a Cardiff side that has never looked dead and buried thus far. If Villa want that 2nd place, they’ll need to go into every single match with victory in mind. No if’s, no but’s - just win, baby.
Villa’s opponents, QPR, aren’t doing too well. They’ve been a bit hit and miss since getting relegated from the Premier League a few years back, and while Ian Holloway has steadied the ship, they don’t look too hot right now. Nottingham Forest, who themselves have disappointed, managed to slam five goals past Holloway’s side at Loftus Road. There’s absolutely no reason Villa can’t look to do the same.
And this could be a blowout if Albert Adomah is fit enough to batter his favourite team into submission. While Villa have missed Jack Grealish, their attack has been completely lopsided without Adomah on the left flank as Josh Onomah has been far too easy to nullify. Robert Snodgrass has stepped up to the plate and will be Villa’s key man, no matter if Grealish and Adomah are fit - Snodgrass is Villa’s true creator.
Luke Freeman is the danger man for QPR and James Chester and John Terry will need to fix up after a number of shaky performances at the back for AVFC. Shutting down the wizard of Loftus Road will shut down QPR - but Ian Holloway will be looking to take a goal, nick the win and go home happy. Villa have to set out with dominance in mind and make the most of their chances. With three at the back possible for QPR, Villa will need to stretch the R’s wide and ensure that their sole striker - Scott Hogan isn’t isolated. This becomes easier if Lewis Grabban lines up against Villa’s main forward threat, but you’d trust Hogan to push QPR to the brink.
QPR lack a real threat, but it is that in itself that poses an obstacle for Villa. Complacency here will do them no favours, and Holloway won’t take that lightly. Again, it’s about Villa stepping up early, to end the match before the first half is over.
With snow and sleet on the horizon, Villa will need to warm up their loyal support with some good football and ensure they aren’t asleep - slipping on the ice here could kill their automatic promotion hopes.