Date: 4th April 2018 at 9:22am
Written by:

Aston Villa kept their slim hopes of automatic promotion alive with a 3-0 victory over Reading at Villa Park on Tuesday night.

With the Royals changing Jaap Stam for Paul Clement in the managerial hotseat given their form in the campaign of 2017/18, it felt like it would be another of those nights for Steve Bruce as a goalless first half played out, despite the home side dominating every telling statistic.

Without doubt, Reading being reduced to ten men as Dave Edwards saw red for the first time in his career in the 30th minute proved to be a pivotal point in the match because although Villa couldn’t make that advantage count first half, they certainly did in the second period.

Birkir Bjarnason scored within a minute of the restart to renew the Villa fans hopes and Conor Hourihane doubled the advantage just after the 60-minute mark. Scott Hogan got back to scoring ways with 20 minutes remaining to give us the crucial victory and there was further cheer for the home crowd as Jonathan Kodjia got another 25-minutes under his belt as a second-half substitute.

With Cardiff City dropping points on Monday evening in their 1-1 draw against Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers having to settle for a 2-2ย draw against Hull City, automatic promotion is still going to be incredibly difficult this season after recent wobbles, but three points this evening at least keeps that dream alive.

The immediate focus has to be on closing the two-point gap to third-placed Fulham though, then we can look ahead to the seven-point gap to Cardiff, who still have a game in hand. A 13 point gap to Wolves rules out the title for me, unfortunately.

Onto Norwich City this coming weekend and let’s see if somebody other than us now noticeably slips up!

Don’t forget Vital Villans, Cardiff’s next match is against Wolves and we face them next Tuesday, so second spot is potentially in our hands.

Regardless of how poor many presume Reading to be, typified by four chances across the game and not a single one on target, 79% possession, 28 chances and 13 on target from us has to be the way forward.

Speaking to the BBC Steve Bruce was obviously pleased with the night’s business.

“I made a lot of changes, and there was a freshness about us. Even before the red card, the way we played was more like it. We had 74 per cent possession in the first half and got 30 crosses in. It was a bit of a procession and just a matter of when we scored. But the longer that goes on, everybody gets a bit edgy. And it takes a wonder goal from Birkir Bjarnason to get us off and running. He probably had his best game for Villa. He was excellent, particularly in the first half.”

With six games left he went on to say that we remained in the mix, and, as referenced above, Wolves playing Cardiff before we then face them, second spot remains more than open and that has to be our aim.

“There will still be some twists and turns yet. And the run that Fulham are on right now is quite remarkable.”

Villa 3 – Reading 0
Villa Park – Championship
03/04/18 – Att: 29,223
Referee: Bond

Aston Villa:

Johnstone, Elmohamady, Chester, Terry, Taylor, Bjarnason, Snodgrass (Onomah 67), Hourihane, Grealish (Whelan 75), Adomah (Kodjia 66), Hogan.

Villa unused subs:

Lansbury, Jedinak, Bunn, Grabban.

Goals: Bjarnason (46), Hourihane (63), Hogan (70).

Reading:

Mannone, Gunter, Ilori, Moore, Blackett, Aluko (Martin 73), Bacuna, Evans (Kelly 65), Edwards, Barrow, Smith (Clement 45).

Reading unused subs:

van den Berg, Swift, Jaakkola, Holmes.

Yellows: Edwards.
Red: Edwards.

STATS:

79% – Possession – 21%
28 – Shots – 4
13 – Shots on Target – 0
6 – Corners – 2
6 – Fouls – 7

 

One Reply to “Stats: Villa Keep Automatic Promotion Hopes Alive With Reading Victory”

  • It’s not out of the question, but just puts in perspective those God-awful performances and results against QPR and Bolton, and to a lesser extent Hull. Even if Cardiff start to wobble, Fulham currently in the box seats to nip in. Still all to play for though!!!! UTV!!!

Your Comment