The Villa Appetiser: Aston Villa v Huddersfield Town 2016

It might only have been Rotherham, but it’s difficult to think back to a more important victory in recent times.

A controlled 3-0 win helped bring the feel-good factor to Villa Park, thanks in part to Tony Xia’s enthusiastic introduction to the crowd.

Huddersfield might not be amongst the bookie’s favourites for promotion this season but have started the season with two wins under the management of Klopp disciple David Wagner.

This will be something of a middle ground game between Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham, so it will be interesting to see how the squad lines up. Will rotation be considered by di Matteo?

This game will be overshadowed by the tragic news of Dalian Atkinson’s passing. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Thank you for the Villa memories, Dalian.

Di Matteo on Huddersfield clash

“Our fans really have been fantastic.

“They came in numbers to Sheffield and Luton and against Rotherham you could really see how full the stadium was.

“They really got behind the team – and the team gave them something to cheer about as well.

“There was a real, definite connection there between the team and the supporters and we want that to be stronger and stronger each week.

“I also want to see those smiles on the faces of our supporters.

“I said when I joined that I wanted to give them something to smile about and hopefully Saturday was the start.

“The results for [Huddersfield] obviously show they are a difficult team to play against.

“We want to try and win home games and then you try and take points where you can away from home.

“You want to make Villa Park a place where other teams find it difficult to play.”

Wagner on Villa

“It’s different because they have a different style to play (than Newcastle), so they give us different questions where we have to find different answers. This is what we are working on.

“At the end, it’s another big name, a big club for us, a great atmosphere, good stadium, and a good pitch as well.

“So we have to make sure we find solutions for their questions they will give us.”

Gestede has now scored eight in his last six Championship appearances

Memory Match

28 December 1987 Villa 1 Huddersfield 1 

A goal from Paul Birch wasn’t enough to win all three points in this Second Division clash.

Villa – Last five matches at home: W 1, D 1, L 3

Huddersfield– Last five matches away: W 2, D 1, L 2

One to Watch

Nahki Wells – The Bermudian has scored three times in his last five Championship games. You’ll probably remember the name… (Read on!).
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

There was a tremendous atmosphere as Villa recorded their first victory since February, but we can’t afford to get complacent.

Rotherham seemed a little over-awed by the notion of Villa Park and while it was an excellent performance by Villa, we didn’t have too much of a test.

Huddersfield will have no such trepidation, however, having silenced a crowd of 50,000+ at St James Park with a 2-1 victory this weekend.

Amongst their goal-scorers was a certain Nahki Wells, who is not-so-fondly remembered by Villa fans. His Bradford side terrorised Lambert’s men in the infamous League Cup semi-final matches…

Despite finishing 19th last season, Huddersfield have started the season well with two victories. The Terriers have plenty of Championship experience in their ranks, and the impressive credentials of their coach Wagner have led to some exciting German signings.

Centre-back Christopher Schindler from 1860 Munich cost a club-record fee, while Elias Kachunga has joined on loan from FC Ingolstadt.

Meanwhile, further domestic signings such as Kasey Palmer from Chelsea’s never-ending squad and highly-rated Liverpool keeper Danny Ward have joined on loan.

Another familiar name to Villa fans will be Huddersfield’s Joe Lolley, who is also… a Villa fan! The Redditch-born winger has impressed under Wagner and has started both of this season’s games. His goal and subsequent celebration against Birmingham City will have scored him points with the Villa faithful, but hopefully he doesn’t get too excited and net at Villa Park. Unless it’s a consolation goal.

Like Dortmund, where Wagner spent many years as second-team coach, Huddersfield games seem to have no shortage of goals – there have been 2.5 goals scored in Huddersfield’s last four games. With this in mind, Villa’s defence will have to carry on from where they left off, and hopefully the Chester and Elphick partnership continues to impress.

“it’s another big name, a big club for us, a great atmosphere, good stadium, and a good pitch as well” – Wagner ON VILLA PARK

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

Hopefully, Saturday’s game made the rest of the league take notice. It was a welcome display of what this Villa side can achieve this season, and significant squad changes (all five new signings featured on Saturday) have changed the atmosphere at Villa Park.

All of a sudden, the squad seems to have cast aside the negativity of last season, and even some of last season’s players have been making amends.

Saturday’s two-goal man Gestede has now scored eight in his last six Championship appearances, and looking at his Blackburn record, he could play a pivotal role if we are to gain promotion this season.

You have to go back to 1969 for the last time Huddersfield beat Villa, a 2-0 win at the old Leeds Road ground.

Finally, this next stat could prove to be prophetic. The last time we played Huddersfield was the 1-1 home draw mentioned in the Memory Match above. This proved to be a memorable season for Villa – this was our Division One promotion-winning campaign under Graham Taylor!

There will be a minute’s applause for Dalian during Tuesday’s game on the 10th minute, and a second win for Villa would be the perfect tribute to a Villa favourite.

RIP Dalian Atkinson.


Follow Lewis on Twitter – @rymondfootball

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