By Bulldog Drummond
According to most pundits Aston Villa started the season like a bullet from a gun with a fair amount of primer and gunpowder helping it along its way…
|21 Sep 2020||Aston Villa v Sheffield United||W||1-0||Premier League|
|28 Sep 2020||Fulham v Aston Villa||W||0-3||Premier League|
|04 Oct 2020||Aston Villa v Liverpool||W||7-2||Premier League|
|18 Oct 2020||Leicester City v Aston Villa||W||0-1||Premier League|
And that situation was then truly reflected in the league table of the day…
Villa then had a game in hand and could easily have gone top. But what happened? A home defeat to Leeds by 0-3 and a home defeat by now top of the table Southampton 3-4.
It rather baffled the experts, but two explanations are readily at hand, as shown in the article “Despite media denials away advantage now outweighs home advantage in which we showed the table for the taking of points by home and away teams this season…
|Season||Home percentage of points||Away percentage of points|
This spelling of it all out was rather necessary because the Guardian published a long article in which their man Paul MacInnes argued (without presenting any evidence at all, which was rather naughty of them) that home advantage had now asserted itself once more. And as far as I know they have never come back and said, actually, that was wrong.
But it is wrong, as the table above shows that is not true – and those Villa home defeats were part of this movement. No fans = away advantage.
So we need to be careful today. But more than that… newspaper people and bloggers do like to select all the news that fits, and ignore the rest, and in Villa’s case that is quite interesting… Here are the games omitted from the opening table of matches…
|08 Sep 2020||Sunderland v Aston Villa||L||8-1||Football League Trophy|
|15 Sep 2020||Burton Albion v Aston Villa||W||1-3||League Cup|
|24 Sep 2020||Bristol City v Aston Villa||W||0-3||League Cup|
|01 Oct 2020||Aston Villa v Stoke City||L||0-1||League Cup|
|06 Oct 2020||Fleetwood Town v Aston Villa||L||3-0||Football League Trophy|
The Football League Trophy, in case you’ve missed it in the past, is a competition in which the Premier League clubs play their under 21s with a couple of older players allowed, against lower league opposition. In the past some Untolders have gone to see these games (although not this season of course)… you might recall our meeting with Tony Adams at Coventry and our time with Freddie at the Leicester game.
So of course those two defeats are not the first team at large, but they are indicative of what Villa’s youngsters are up to.
By contrast we might consider what Arsenal have been up to away from the Premier League…
|29 Aug 2020||Arsenal v Liverpool||W||1-1 (5-4)||Community Shield|
|08 Sep 2020||Ipswich Town v Arsenal||W||1-2||Football League Trophy|
|23 Sep 2020||Leicester City v Arsenal||W||0-2||League Cup|
|01 Oct 2020||Liverpool v Arsenal||W||0-0 (4-5)||League Cup|
|13 Oct 2020||Crawley Town v Arsenal||W||1-2||Football League Trophy|
|22 Oct 2020||Rapid Wien v Arsenal||W||1-2||Europa League|
|29 Oct 2020||Arsenal v Dundalk||W||3-0||Europa League|
|05 Nov 2020||Arsenal v Molde||W||4-1||Europa League|
There is something rather striking about this – it is a straight run of wins. And yes before you shout at me that this doesn’t count for much, to a degree I would agree, but wins bring confidence to the club, even if you are not playing and it is the under 21s. Yes of course we were expected to beat Dundalk and Molde, but one might say that Villa’s under 21s should be expected to do a little better against Sunderland and Fleetwood.
We might also note that in our list of matches we have beaten Liverpool twice. OK both times on penalties but it still had to be done.
Villa will go into this match as favourites because a) it is away from home and away teams are doing better than home teams, and b) they are above us with a better goal difference and a game in hand.
Coming next: the teams and what Villa did in the transfer windows.
- Extraordinary injury news from Arsenal and what Pépé and Eddie must do
- The desperate need to sort out Arsenal’s away form
- Despite media denials, away advantage now outweighs home advantage
- The home and away scandal: ignorance, or cover up?
- The reason why Liverpool and Man C are ahead of Arsenal.
- How which referee a club gets has a major impact on the result of each game
- The statistical evidence that shows PGMO are biased against Arsenal
- How European football has taken up the fight against clubs breaking FFP