Aston Villa vs West Bromwich Albion – Game 33 (4/25/2021)

One statistic bothers me more than most when it comes to this crazy topsy-turvy season.  For much of the season, it was safe to say that as long as we took the lead first, our Villans were almost guaranteed to win.  That was irrespective of whether we played at home or on the road.  Neither did it depend on the opposition.  We held off top teams: Liverpool, Leicester, and Arsenal (twice) to gain four out of eleven wins, ten of them shutouts.  In fact, the only team that broke the run of shutouts was the non-illustrious Burnley who went on to a 3-2 shocking win against us at Turf Moor.

Missing Jack Grealish in the second half has been a huge handicap but, when we started taking the lead in games, beginning with the game at Newcastle, it turned out to be counterproductive.  We managed to gain the lead in three games out of four and lost two of those games and tied one.  In the game we were scored on first (against Fulham), we came back to win 3-1.

So, what do I envisage will happen against West Bromwich Albion who we beat comfortably at the Hawthorns, 3-0?  That depends on what line-up manager Dean Smith puts out there.  If he feels the team is in a bit of a funk after the strange losses against Liverpool and Man City, he might bring up a Carney Chukwuemeka, an Academy product, who should bring energy.

What Smith is conscious of is the significance of a derby game.  Fans on both sides will want him to play it fair and the team from the Black Country will have plenty of motivation (to survive the drop) without help from Smith.

Since my optimistic prognostications that we could have (and should have) come away from both of those defeats (against Liverpool and Man City) with at least a couple of points now looks foolhardy, I am going to tone it down.  Let’s say, I’ll be satisfied with a point since a loss would be too much to bear.

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