#43 Will Aston Villa’s Unfancied Status Help Them Beat Play-off Dark Horses?

Unfancied Villa?

MOMS hasn’t read a neutral pundit yet who’s tipped Aston Villa to triumph in the Championship play-offs. The bookies have Fulham to pip us in the final and most commentators on the play-offs seem to think Fulham vs Villa will make-up the final at Wembley, with the London team taking it.

Even when somebody has gone against the grain, like the Independent newspaper did, their tip was for a Derby vs Middlesbrough final (so far, so good, with Derby holding a narrow 1-0 lead over Fulham from the first leg).

Somebody give me a verdict that has Villa the winner!

All prediction talk is meaningless though and maybe it’s good that Villa aren’t favourites.

Villa have tended to suffer this season when they have been expected to get a result. Players have been complacent, while supporters have sat in the stands waiting for things to happen, rather than getting involved and firing up their players. The lacklustre display against QPR at Villa Park was a very good example.


When Villa have gone into games knowing that they’ve got a battle on their hands, ala when an in-form Blues team visited or when the eventual automatic promotion teams Wolves and Cardiff visited Villa Park, it’s when we’ve seen the best of Villa.

The team have shown they’ve can grind out wins too away from home, with tricky trips to Sheffield United and Middlesbrough, the best examples.

All four play-off teams are capable of winning the play-offs. That’s reflected in the first of two My Old Man Said podcast episodes, that focus on the play-offs.

You can listen to the first below:


Dark Horses

Recorded on location, after a trip to see England U-17’s vs Italy at the Bescot Stadium, the general feeling of the show is that Middlesbrough are dark horses to win the play-offs.

It seems Villa manager, Steve Bruce feels the same way, judging by his recent interview in the Daily Telegraph.

“I genuinely believe Middlesbrough are the toughest team we could have faced, whether it was in the semi-final or the final,” said Bruce. “Tony [Pulis] has been around the block a bit, I seem to have been doing battle with him for years and they’ve been on a good run of late, so it will be tough.”

That recent run has seen Pulis’ team out-performing Villa in the last 14/15 games or so.

Boro have been inspired by the transformation of ex-Villan Adama Traore, who won Boro’s Supporters’ Player of the Year, the Player’s Player of the Year and the Young Player of the Year awards, this season.

Can Villa stop him?

It’s certainly expected to be a tight affair.


MOMS Ep. 43: Championship Play-off First Impressions

The My Old Man Said podcast goes to Bescot stadium to see England U-17’s vs Italy U-17’s before sitting down for a casual chat about Aston Villa’s upcoming Championship play-off double-header with Middlesbrough. This podcast was recorded on location.

  • Trip to Walsall
  • Who would you have preferred Boro or Derby?
  • Threat of Middlesbrough
  • Advantage of play-off date
  • Scared of Fulham?
  • Who’s the dark horses to win the play-offs?
  • Away leg approach
  • Defensive midfield issues
  • James Bree tangent
  • And more…

Please support the show by becoming a MOMS Patron. You will get bonus patron-only episodes, advanced sneaks and also get entered into regular reward draws. More details and to become a Patron, click here: Join MOMS Patrons



Podcast Episode 43 features:

David Michael – @oldmansaid 

Chris Budd – @BUDD_music

My Old Man Said – https://myoldmansaid.com

Producer – David Michael


  1. Fort half best this season. HardHardly gave em a kick . The work rate and closing down was amazing. When a man was beaten there was another just behind. Should have scored more. Second half unable to hold the ball going forward but stop restricted them to few opportunities. Great performance.

Comments are closed.