Torn Loyalties for Brentford Boss as Di Matteo Insists Villa Are On Right Path

The Villa Appetiser: Aston Villa v Brentford 2016

It’s a strange time to be a Villa fan.

We have a much more likeable team, have dominated all three home games, and have a owner showing levels of commitment that were unthinkable under the previous regime.

Despite this, you can’t help but feel the same old problems lurk in the background. We still don’t seem to be able to see games out.

It may be early in the season, but we can’t afford to keep dropping points. Collectively, our attacking players rival any in the league – can we get the comprehensive victory that seems to be evading us?

Dean Smith on Villa

“I never ever got to play at Villa Park and I always wanted to play against them.

“Walsall played there in the cup but I was just one of the squad members that day so I never got on.

“I’m really looking forward to it.

“I’ve been there a number of times, watching games over the last few seasons but this will be different.

“If we win it won’t be any different, though. It will be three more points to our total, that’s all.

“What it will be, it will be big for my family because they’re all from around here.

“My dad has dementia now so he won’t be able to go, though. That will be a shame.

“As for my brother (Dave) who is a big Villa fan, he’s got torn loyalties at the moment. One week it’s Brentford, the next it’s Villa (his real love).”

Roberto Di Matteo on Brentford

“Every game seems to be very tough. They have started well. But I feel we are on the right path.”

And on defending leads…

“I think with time we will learn and improve with this situation and be able to finish games off – or see them out.

“We have made a lot of changes in the transfer window obviously.

“It’s frustrating. Really frustrating. But the performance (against Forest) was really good.”

Gestede on Wednesday’s game 

“The good thing about the Championship is there’s always another game on the horizon.

“You don’t have time to think too much about the game just past. You have to focus on the next one.

“It is a home game and I think it will be good for us to get a win.

“The Forest game is finished now. There is frustration but you have to leave it in the changing room and move forward.

“There are plenty of games to come and we know we have to do something now.”

brentford have won just once during their last five away games

Memory Match

31 January 1953 Villa 0 Brentford 0

It was Villa who secured the points when the teams last met in the old Division 1.

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

Brentford– Last five matches away: W 1, L 4 

One to Watch



Scott Hogan – Despite injury problems over the last few seasons, the forward is an ever-present so far this campaign – he scored twice against Brighton last weekend, and has scored 10 in his last 10 league games for the club.

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

It looked like Villa had secured an impressive turnaround against Forest at the weekend but the late equaliser was an eerie reminder that some things never change – or so it seems.

The defenders we signed this summer mean we have a much-changed backline, but despite bundles of Championship experience, we seem to be leaking goals at a rate that will hinder any promotion hopes, should it continue.

There’s a famous sporting quote that says “the more I practice, the luckier I get”, but despite Villa’s abundance of chances created, rattling the woodwork seems more likely than a goal. So much for luck…Over the last ten games, our shot conversion rate is just 9%.

At the other end, we’ve conceded five goals in two games, so the fact that Brentford picked up a 2-0 win at the usually resilient Brighton is cause for concern.

Could that win prove to be Brentford’s turning point?


“I’ve been there a number of times, watching games over the last few seasons but this will be different” – Smith on villa park

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

We’re getting to the point now where Villa need to be picking up home wins.

The draw against Huddersfield was unlucky, but the ease in which Forest waltzed through Villa’s midfield was unacceptable given the strength of our squad.

At least our team is more exciting this season. We knew McCormack would be a good acquistion for the Championship campaign, and it’s great to see him scoring at Villa Park. No surprise that since the start of the 2013-14 season the Scot has scored more Championship goals than any other player! (68)

Gestede’s impressive goal against Forest is proof that we have a more than capable squad for promotion this season – don’t forget we have Kodjia and Adomah to play their part too.

Dean Smith, who did a fantastic job at Walsall and is continuing in much the same fashion down South, will be keen to pick up a good result at the ground he visited during his childhood. But while the Bees are in the table’s top 10, they have won just once during their last five away games.

If it makes you feel better, we’ve never lost against Brentford – although the last time we played them was in 1953!

With the likes of Newcastle and Norwich picking up wins, the time is now for Villa. We’ve got the attacking talent – we just need to grind out victories.

Hopefully at the end of the match, we’re not making excuses about bad luck, or ruing how many times the goalposts got in our way…


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