#68 Aston Villa Find New Character and Resolve to Aid Play-off Push

Smith Evolution

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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Chris Budd – @BUDD_music

Dan Rodgers – @avfc_vilr

Producer/Editor – David Michael

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Villa Underground – http://www.villaunderground.com


  1. I agree, more so than ever after Saturday, that resolve is really starting to come through & pay dividends.

    We have as good, or better, chance than anyone now.

    I am going off thread here, but I must mention it. Having read Glen Whelan’s thoughts on Jack & how he could see him in a deeper lying role (at some future point), dictating play and so on & so forth…. How about a team that has Jack in such a position with young Calum playing in the role that Jack currently occupies?

    I would love our team next year to have these two playing in the same side, imagine that.

  2. Wow what a win today. Despite Bannon ripping us apart for 80 minutes. We drove forward at the end and got 2 late goals to secure an unlikely win. This team has now added belief as well as defensive strength. Just 6 more games and 4 wins should secure us play offs. And with the momentum with the Villa “would you bet against us”!!!

  3. “with Villa finally stabilising their backline post John Terry.” And Sam J going which is worth a mention.

    To quote you above, yes that has been a big factor and was one of the reasons (amongst others) why I was so hacked off when people started to question him & was he the right man for the job, blah blah blah.
    Yes , we had a bad run, but the bloke took on a whole host of problems from Bruce and has not had the money Bruce had (a lot of which was pissed up the wall on golden oldies or injury prone…….. ) and did not get a fraction of the time Bruce had before questions were being asked.
    I know we had a bad run, but it did not surprise me.
    Jack being out was one factor, but there were many others.

    Sounds like I am off on one again, nothing new there………But my point is, we have a chance now & it may not come to fruition this season. If this is the case I hope we all can stick together & stay behind Deano, lets give him at least the summer window & into the new season, should it go a little pear shaped over this run in. Hopefully not though. Come on you Lions.

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