Scaling the dizzy heights

Dave Woodhall misses Villa’s 2-0 win over Bristol City.

Villa refused to delay the kick-off by, er, about three hours so I wasn’t able to get to the match on Tuesday night. Looking at the weather beforehand I wasn’t that bothered; looking at the scoreline afterwards I was more than a bit annoyed that I’d missed that rare occurence, a second consecutive win. A few weeks ago I had the choice – to either go to the Barnsley match or to this one. It’s nice to know that my predictions are every bit as accurate as ever. And I’d rather miss a win than watch a defeat.

Apologies to everyone who made the effort to watch two struggling Championship sides on a lousy night if you disagree with what I say. You saw the game and know more about it than me, who followed on the occasional bit of radio commentary and internet match thread, but here goes.

Villa seemed pretty much in control after an uninspired start . Jonathan Kodjia infuriates and delights in equal measure – good strikers are invariably selfish but great ones also have a bit of awareness to their game. If Kodjia could work on the same wavelength as a regular partner we could have had promotion wrapped up by now. Henri Lansbury and Conor Hourihane showed their quality while Mile Jedinak confirmed my belief that a decent defensive midfielder can have an effect on the team out of all proportion to his ability. Villa’s worst form of the seaosn coincided with Jedinak’s absence; six points from the three games since his return prove his value.

Second half goals from Kodjia and Hourihane were enough to beat a Bristol City side who were no better nor worse than could be expected from either their league position or current form. They may not have been up to much but I’ve seen enough Villa teams over the years to know that they usually save their worst displays for nights like this, when the weather’s horrible and the opposition uninspiring. That Villa won without much fuss is definitely a steep in the right direction. That they could lose two players through injury in doing so was further proof that no matter how much the performance might improve, they still have to do it without much in the way of a helping hand from the Gods of Football.

But, the only thing that matters was the win, and that it was achieved without much fuss. There didn’t appear to be any panic in the later stages and a second consecutive clean sheet was another small step forward as well. A third win without conceding at Rotherham on Saturday will be even more welcome.

Realistically, all Villa now have to play for is the impetus that will be provided by a good run from now until the end of the season. It isn’t much, in fact given our resources it’s downright embarassing that the best Villa can hope for is to finish in the top ten, but after years of going backwards, to be moving in the right direction, no matter how slowly we’re travelling and how far away the ultimate destination might seem, is a relief if nothing else.

And if anyone can tell me what £79.6 million of exceptional impaired assets looks like, I’d be very grateful.