Scott Walker was never an Aston Villa fan. Had he been, we’d never have heard “No Regrets”; we’ve all got them, particularly this season. And they keep coming, relentlessly; without remorse.
Why this startlingly good form couldn’t have arrived in January, is the latest. Seven wins out of eight, with no goals conceded in any of them. It’s typically Villa that with six games to go, we’re only nine points adrift of the play-offs. You know we’re going to finish a point or two short at the end of the season.
It isn’t the failure, I can handle failure but it’s the hope which kills me. There is some point to a good run at the end of the season though; it makes next year’s promotion aspirations look more realistic.
We were a shambles last season and have been little better at times, this year. But we’re looking organised and gradually, after months of trying, realising that defending for the whole ninety minutes plus stoppage time, will bring us more points.
QPR were beaten by a solitary Jonathan Kodjia goal at Loftus Road in December, giving us our first away win since Moses was a baby. The Londoners had a strong sense of déjà vu, losing last night to a solitary Jonathan Kodjia goal.
This one was more tortuous for Rangers; Kodjia struck in the fifth minute, combining with Leandro Bacuna which he finished some aplomb. An early goal, football wisdom tells us, is the opening of the floodgates.
There was general surprise that Bacuna was straight back into the side but he was a player determined to make up for lost time.
That didn’t prove to be the case last night but this was a slow burner. QPR, far from being overwhelmed, gradually coming back into the game while we could find the same devastating combination which had unlocked their defence earlier.
In fact, the rest of the first half was pretty much of a muchness. Few chances of note were created and when there was an air of danger, the final ball wasn’t of sufficient quality for a bigger lead to be built.
As the game wore on, a nervousness filled the air as Rangers pressed for an equaliser. But not before we’d squandered a few chances to add to Kodjia’s goal.
The closest came when Nathan Baker saw his effort cleared off the line in a moment of agony for us, and relief for Rangers and their travelling support. But that was the last genuine threat we posed, emboldening QPR to come forward themselves.
They went close, with Washington (I think) wasting a golden opportunity to share the points. This not long after Smith headed over. We were stretched and edgy but not paralysed by fear. Maybe a better team would have punished us but we weren’t playing a better team.
Steve Bruce spoke afterwards and was honest enough to admit that he thinks “we’ve given ourselves too much to do”. But it’s nice to be in that position!