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Aston Villa vs Cardiff: Statistical preview

All the key numbers broken down as Villa take on Cardiff.

Aston Villa v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

After a very disappointing result at Carrow Road on Saturday, AstonVilla are in the last chance saloon in regards to automatic promotion saloon. They will now clash against a strong Cardiff City side, who are 7 points clear of their opponents and sit in second place, only two points ahead of in-form Fulham. This is a must win game for Steve Bruce and his charges. Full stop.

Villa have had more than enough games to be in the position Cardiff are in and the table doesn’t lie, as we all know.

In the last six games Villa have collected 6 points from a possible 18 while Cardiff have 12 from a possible 18. I don’t need to tell anyone that’s double the points total Villa have obtained.

Spreading the load in goalscoring

One thing I had noticed in the run up to this game is the way that Cardiff have goals throughout the team, something Villa have been lacking in the main. The injury to Jonathan Kodija has robbed Villa of 20-plus goals a season, a huge loss which can equate to an extra 10-15 points in a single season on average and with Scott Hogan having his own injury issues and now having found some form (albeit a bit to late in reality), the lack of a natural striker has been a big problem throughout the season.

This season Albert Adomah - a predominantly wide attacking midfielder - is Villa’s top scorer with 14 goals, with another midfielder, Conor Hourihane helping himself to 10 goals. Compare this to Cardiff (see the table below) who have not only two ‘forwards’ in Hoilett and Zohore but goals coming from across midfield. It seems that a case of individual brilliance is behind Villa’s goalscoring.

Villa & Cardiff: League Goalscorers

Player/Team League Goals Scored
Player/Team League Goals Scored
Adomah/Villa 14
Hourihane/Villa 10
Paterson/Cardiff 9
Zahore/Cardiff 8
Hoilett/Cardiff 8
Ralls/Cardiff 7
Snodgrass/Villa 7
Mendez-Laing/Cardiff 6
Hogan/Villa 6
Ward/Bamba/Morrison/Cardiff 4
Grabban/Villa 4
Gareth Cooper

So compared to Villa, who have a combined tally of 35 goals from 4 players, Cardiff have 50 goals spread across 8 players, the number of goals is, of course, important but it’s the spread that’s the focus here. Villa and Cardiff both have 2/3 goals coming from other players, but even the Cardiff centre backs have chipped in with more than double the goals Terry and Chester have.

In a league where small margins count, goals often mean points, and with Villa being 7 points behind Tuesdays opponents, nothing more than a win will do. Villa’s goalscoring frustrations have been a major part in them not collecting points where, and when, it mattered.

Going for broke

A while back I had a huge response on social media and privately from people connected to the club when I produced some work regarding the team shape and how I believed it should change from what it was at that time.

I suggested that Villa go to a 4-1-4-1 with Jack and Conor in centre midfield which I was partly ridiculed for with some saying that Jack wasn’t capable of playing that role. Now without going into the finer details, within two weeks Villa had indeed gone to this set up and had started to win games. Coincidence? Most probably and I am in no way suggesting I had anything to do with it at all - but I did have a response from a member of the analyst team at the club so make of it what you will.

However I now think another (positive) change could be possible and I have various solutions to this, and I may delve into this another time, but in lacking another centre-half our options are limited.

We have nothing to lose going in to these last few games and should be in the playoffs come what may (no pun intended) so let us have a go and see if we can grab the automatic spot in the event Cardiff and/or Fulham slip up.

All that being said I wouldn’t be averse to keeping it tight the way it is as it has helped us to get to where we are now but it is concerning we don’t seem to have a plan B in games when it is needed.

Breakdown

Head to Head

Aston Villa Statistic Cardiff City
Aston Villa Statistic Cardiff City
12 Home vs Away Wins 9
6 Home vs Away Draws 5
2 Home vs Away Losses 5
Albert Adomah (14) Top Scorer Callum Paterson (9)
36 Home/Away NPG Goals Scored 21
18 Home/Away NPG Goals against 19
31.03 Home/Away xG total 27.29
1.52 Home/Away xG per 90 1.4
40.35% Win Chance % (Based on xG per90) 35.02%
Gareth Cooper