There was always a theory on the My Old Man Said podcast that Dean Smith’s Aston Villa had to play well to win games and they didn’t quite have the make-up to win ugly or grind out wins.
When Villa have clicked under the Villa Head Coach, they’ve tended to blow away even Championship play-off contending teams three or four nil. If they’re not quite up to par though, the loss of intensity leads them to be susceptible on the counter, which is the reason that so many of their games have been drawn this season.
In the recent five-game winning streak though, the close wins against Blackburn (2-1) and Birmingham City (1-0) were perhaps as impressive as the 3-0 and 4-0 over Middlesbrough and Derby.
They showed a distinct evolution under Smith.
Both wins proved that Villa now knew how to win when not at their best – they battled, fought and held their nerve to win.
It’s a positive sign, as it tends to be one of the true trademarks of a successful team.
Part of the foundation has been the evolvement of a firm defensive unit. The success of Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause as a centre-back partnership has been key to it, aided by the improvement in form of both full-backs Neil Taylor and Ahmed Elmohamady.
Add to that the remarkable transformation of Glenn Whelan as Villa’s progressive midfield enforcer and back four shield, and you have the recipe to why Jed Steer hasn’t had to deal with very much over the past five games.
Jack Grealish may have returned, but his timing has synced with Villa finally stabilising their backline post John Terry.
On the latest episode (68) of the podcast, we discuss the differences now with Smith’s team, even compared to the line-up that first gave him success at the start of his reign as Head Coach.
Villa’s previous game against Blackburn proves to be a good starting point to analysis the transformation.
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Episode 68 Notes
Five Star Aston Villa March On
Five league wins in a row and Aston Villa are now up to fifth spot in the Championship, as they make their late surge for a play-off place. David, Dan and Chris discuss the latest victory against Blackburn Rovers, as well as the ever evolving play-off picture.
The MOMS trio also look at the recent big Manchester United news, the on-going Cardiff City aviation saga and the journey of the space burger, as the Scott Hogan Touch Count Meter also flickers into life.
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David Michael – @oldmansaid
Chris Budd – @BUDD_music
Dan Rodgers – @avfc_vilr
Producer/Editor – David Michael
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Villa Underground – http://www.villaunderground.com