I've had a rough week. I went to bed last Saturday night and woke up with fever. I didn't get out of bed until Wednesday and then it was just playing catch up. I was actually looking forward to a Friday night with a nice bottle of wine. Then I remembered.

And we'll get to the football in a minute, but you simply can't have that Friday night feeling with a nice wine and a fire on a Saturday. Saturday is the day when the wife has you doing all the stuff around the house that she's been planning all week or doing the things that they've made up so you're actually looking forward to Monday.

Football soon, I promise. Okay, football. I remembered that we're playing tonight and while I'll have my wine and the fire it's not the night I wanted.

Because now it's changed. I've got to make time for it, I've got to hope we put in the type of performance that I don't remember seeing for a while and I've got to hope we score a few goals. You see, if we don't, I'm not going to enjoy my Friday night and this wine that I've opened, that cost a fair few quid, is going to go to waste.

You see, that's what supporting Aston Villa has done to me. But writing is actually quite cathartic. I can share with an audience and some will like what I write and others, usually Greg, will disagree. And yes, there are others, but Greg, it feels like you're going after me at the moment. Was this because I beat you at squash when I was 13?

The football

I've not really written much about the football for the past two or three years. I think the last time I had any real hope was when we appointed Remi Garde, even if I was fairly confident he wasn't going to help. It was the optimism that someone from France was coming. And since relegation, I've had little reason to write about it.

You see, for a good few years I've written a season preview post. When we were still in the Premier League, I always predicted we'd stay up because there were three worse sides than us. The season we got relegated, I didn't predict that and our first season down, I also predicted we wouldn't be going up. I write this so you understand where I am and why it's hard to write about the football.

When we appointed Bruce, there was little reason to write about the football either, I mean, he's never been known as a manager that plays a style of football that gets supporters excited. But he is known as a manager that gets teams promoted. So we have to accept everything we're getting now. Yes, be unhappy and yes, moan if you want, but we can't change it nor should we be surprised.

And that is why I don't write about it much and why I've sort of become less of a grumpy old man than I used to be. And it's also because of the new owners. I think I'm waiting for them. The fake Doctor was a charlatan, these two are the real deal and I believe good things are coming, but it doesn't happen over night.

The match tonight

So, ranting almost over (from the context of this post Greg) and we look forward to the football. Or do we really? I sort of am because it's my team, but my gut is telling me that I'm not going to enjoy it. Sure, if we win 1-0 because we scored in the last minute, I'll be happy that we won, but not enjoying something but feeling happy, there are too many jokes there.

So, I'm going to bite down and watch and hope that we're all surprised even if I don't expect it to happen. But John left a comment the other day on the post before this one, basically agreeing but also saying Bruce needed a little more time with these players. John might not be wrong and I hope he's right, but I just sense it's got to start happening soon.

The manager speaks

We haven't quite got the balance right yet, we've made a lot of mistakes defensively, and we're going to have to be a bit more resilient than we have been at the minute defensively. We've tried to be a bit more expansive but for me we're too open at the moment, we haven't quite got the balance correct. Fitting into what we did last year is easy for some, but the six that have now joined us will take a bit of time, it's not an excuse, it's the way it is.

And I have to leave a comment on this because he's saying it's not an excuse and it's just the way it is. So why did he let Tommy Elphick go? Surely playing a defender is better than an aging central midfielder that my 9 year old daughter could beat in a race?

Bristol City video

Match facts from the BBC

  • Bristol City's 5-0 defeat by Aston Villa in their most recent league meeting in January was their heaviest against them since November 1959 (also a 5-0 defeat).
  • Aston Villa's last away league win at Ashton Gate against Bristol City was back in December 1979 in the top-flight, with Gary Shaw scoring a hat-trick in a 3-1 win.
  • Aston Villa have won just one of their last seven Championship games (D4 L2) despite scoring in each of those matches (nine goals in total).
  • Bristol City have won 14 points from their opening nine Championship games for the third consecutive season.
  • Aston Villa have had more different goalscorers than any other team in the Championship this season (11 players).
  • Bristol City's Andreas Weimann has scored five goals in nine Championship appearances this season, as many as he did in 42 outings for former club Derby in the competition in 2017-18.
Author: Damian
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Damian started The Villa Blog as a passion project quite a few years ago while he was living in South Africa. Now living in Sweden, it continues. He's originally from Chasetown and grew up when supporting Villa meant there was a real chance of silverware at the start of every season.