February for Aston Villa was a truly frantic month, as Dean Smith’s side suffered defeats to West Ham and Leicester City. Despite also losing Grealish and Cash to injury, Villa highlighted their versatility with more defensive-minded victories against Arsenal and Leeds United. With the Villa faithful now looking forward to what challenge March brings, I spoke to Howard Hodgson about what Aston Villa can learn from February.
After a disappointing defeat against David Moyes’ Hammers, the Villa faithful began to become pessimistic about their sides’ chances at securing a place in the Europa League. After previously narrowly beating Southampton 1-0 before the encounter with West Ham, the boys in claret and blue had only won 2 out of their last 5 games.
“We have set the standards after 19 games, you want to keep that going. Unfortunately tonight we didn’t.”
When speaking to Howard Hodgson, he highlighted the resemblance of Aston Villa’s defensive nature to George Graham’s Arsenal sides who back in the 1980s were renown for their slim victories. After a frustrating loss to West Ham, Villa would go on to beat Arsenal and Leeds United with two narrow 1-0 wins.
“Not many people would have fancied us against Leeds and they make you work hard. We got an early goal and showed lots of character.”
“We’ve got the chance [to finish in the top six] but there are some top teams in there. We’ll just take it game by game.”
The month of February has been a learning curve for Aston Villa with frustrating defeats against Leicester City and West Ham resulting in Dean Smith’s side becoming a more defensive unit. With more challenging fixtures to come in March, make sure to watch Howard Hodgson and me on the latest edition of the Monthly Review.
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