Ahead of the game on Saturday against Fulham at Craven Cottage, Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce spoke about his desire to see the side hunt down Wolves and close that gap to first place.
Following this weekend’s round of fixtures Wolves did drop two points and may have had a greater stumble had Preston not been reduced to ten men after they gained the advantage but of course Villa’s expected wobble with seven straight wins came at Craven Cottage as a poor performance saw us defeated on the day.
With Villa slipping to third in the table and seeing Cardiff replace us in second spot with a two point advantage, we are now shy of Wolves by 13 points and with such a gap to top spot, it will take another sustained effort from Villa to chase them down following their season so far.
The form guide suggests that although the battle for second spot is still wide open, especially if we can get back to winning ways quickly and get on another similar run, even though top spot would remain difficult as ahead of the Preston game Wolves were just shy of the average points per game needed to achieve a record Championship haul.
There are 14 games left to play and plenty of points to fight for, so anything remains possible and Wolves only need to slip slightly for us to capitalise moving forward.
We do of course face them in March and that result in particular could be key to our chances of challenging for the title this season.
Speaking to the Birmingham Mail Bruce was full of praise for the job that opposite number Nuno Espirito Santo had done at the Molineux following his appointment, saying they were having an ‘unbelievable season’ but ultimately if you want to sit in top spot you have to expect teams to gun for you, and Bruce is determined that Villa will have a ‘shot’ at them between now and May.
‘The amount of points they’ve got now is enormous for this part of the season. But mentality doesn’t change. Can we catch Wolves? Can we mount a challenge to them and put them under pressure? That’s my thought.’
With our run of form in recent weeks and things starting to click for us on the pitch, Villa have put themselves into the position to take aim at our local rivals, so why not go all out and see how close we can get now. The focus will be solely on each upcoming game, but win more than we lose and hoping Wolves slip up as they haven’t yet really had a wobble this season, there’s no reason why we can’t close the gap is there.
Of course they could go unbeaten between now and May, but with the gap being 13 points, whilst it remains possible it has to be our aim and we can’t let the Fulham game derail us.
‘We play them at home in a few weeks and that’s got to be the challenge for us all. We haven’t got anywhere near them yet but can we do it? It’s important now that we start to look up and have a go. Why not?’
Let’s find out and see if what’s already turning into a good season can be even better.
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