It’s been a poor past few weeks for Aston Villa, which has seen Steve Bruce’s men ultimately bottle the automatic promotion challenge. The repeated Bruce excuse of “that’s the Championship” isn’t something we’ve heard from the likes of Fulham or Millwall, this year, as they’ve swept away all before them in 2018. Or, from the likes of Wolves and Cardiff, who have out performed Villa despite finishing below them last season.
Still, in boxing terms, while Villa haven’t shown themselves to be smart boxers over 12 rounds, as they demonstrated against Wolves and this week against Cardiff, they do have big knockout power, which makes them a big threat to the other teams in the play-off.
While as Villa fans we are always hard on ourselves, no other team will fancy playing Villa in the play-offs.
While we play out the remainder of the season and await to see who we’ll play in the knock-out path to the Premier League, here’s five reasons to be cheerful as Villa fans…
The good thing about the three points against Cardiff is while it doesn’t exactly propel Villa into the automatics, it does help cement their play-off position. This is good news, because MOMS has noticed quite a few lily-livered Villa fans on social media whining about Villa not making the play-offs.
Come on! Grow a pair. MOMS is as disappointed as the next person at this squad’s failings in terms of automatic promotion, but the goal this season is promotion by any means necessary, so while that is still attainable, lets all strive for it together.
Although, saying that, as someone wrote on MOMS this week, there is a school of thought that some fans are enjoying the Championship more than the Premier League.
You can understand that train of thought. It’s a bit more old school, there’s bigger away allocations, less hyperbole BS (apart from the local press) and the games come thick and fast.
MOMS opinion is though, Villa should be dining at the top table of English football, and beating Championship teams doesn’t provide as much pleasure as taking down the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United or Chelsea.
Also, it’s only in the Premier League that we’ll find out if Tony Xia is for real and if the board can realise their supposed plan to get us challenging in Europe again.
But the good news for Championship lovers is, there’s still a 50-50 chance we’ll still be in the division next season.
The threat of in-form Millwall in the play-offs is real, before we talk about any other teams.
While the Jack Grealish renaissance has been in full flow since he returned this year from injury, there was one thing missing…GOALS. Against Reading and now with a superb volley against Cardiff, our Jack seems to be addressing that concern.
What’s next? A winner at Wembley?
After his brain fart against Fulham, Sam Johnstone has been back to his reliable best, no matter what the final score of Villa’s recent games have been.
He was especially fab against Cardiff City and MOMS’ MOTM after a string of fine saves kept Villa in the game, before Grealish finished the job.
A decent keeper goes along way in the knock out format of the play-offs, with the spectre of penalties also in the mix. So, it’s good to have him on board.
Direct Wembley Link
When the idea of the promotion play-offs first came up, the argument against them was it was unfair on a team finishing third that had earned the right to promotion having accrued more points. It was especially unfair, for example, that a team in 3rd could have 15 more points than a team in 6th, but not get promoted via the play-offs.
The good news is, it’s unlikely Villa will finish in third spot, so we won’t have to suffer such injustice!
Instead, hopefully we can take advantage of the play-off backdoor and sheepishly return to the top flight after a good day out at Wembley.
Surely the reason they have a direct train line from Birmingham to Wembley Stadium was to make following Villa easier, as they go about winning trophies at the national stadium.
While it’s not the FA Cup, the Play-off Cup is a start.
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