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  1. No anagrams. The last away game of the season, and it's on Sky's MNF slot. I think this was pencilled in for the Monday night weeks before our season took a downturn. At the time, we were in the hunt for the title so I can well imagine that there was a great deal of expected interest in this one. As it stands, it has managed to give Villa an extra day to recover from their trip to Greece. We'll know if they've managed to turn around their first-leg flop against Olympiakos in the Conference League semi final. Hard to gauge how up for it the Villa team is likely to be. When they are good they are very good, and, whether Spurs' continued woes mean the top 4 is secured before this game or not, Villa can cement a Champions League spot with a result against us. Last season's fixture was on Boxing Day. We'd been largely dreadful on the road, and Darwin was struggling for consistency despite a raft of chances. It's fair to say that the glimpses that he might have cracked it since then are exactly that. Glimpses. It was in evidence at Villa Park in a game where Villa created a few chances, but we created (and should really have taken) more. Mo got us under way with a brilliant team goal. A Robbo corner on the right was cleared out to Trent by the Villa defence. Trent was about 40 yards out and central, but picked out a peach of a pass with the outside of his foot back to Robbo on the right edge of the penalty area, who had both got back onside and angled his run to lose his marker. He played a first-time ball across the six yard box for Mo to fire home. Villa had a great chance to equalise but Bailey fluffed his lines. They fashioned another decent chance when Watkins lost Big Bird at the far post but could only head into the grateful hands of Ali. A Konsa error from a long clearance had Darwin racing in on goal. He did very well to pick a high dropping ball out of the air with a first-time volley but as is so frequently the case, hit it straight at the keeper. He had a bit more time to bring the ball down and pick his spot. We did make it 2 when Virgil hammered the ball home after Villa didn't clear the ball and it fell to Mo to tee up the Big Dutchman. Into the second half, we allowed Villa too much momentum, which allowed them to pull a goal back through Waktkins with a tidy header. Darwin should have settled the match when he again raced clear, this time from another excellent through-ball, but he failed to hit the target with his left-footed effort. He was a menace to the Villa defence all night though, and it was via another of those bursts that the ball fell at the feet of the newly-introduced Baj. He showed great composure to create the space to first a shot through the defender on the line. It finished 3-1 and we were full value for the points. For Villa, Martinez has missed a couple of games so they've had to put Olsen in goal. It wouldn't surprise me if he's back for this one. No idea who they will be missing, and the European game might take a lot out of them whether they retrieve the situation or not. For us, we should have the same availability as for the last couple of games. Hopefully Diogo is back to full fitness, and hopefully no-one picks up a 'knock' between this write-up and the match. That happens an awful lot and it is incredibly annoying! Do what we did against Spurs for the first 70 minutes. Don't do what we did against Spurs for the last 20 minutes. The title might be gone, but lets target a points total that runs into the 80s. It's short of where we'd liked to have been but it would still be an impressive total. Maximum motivation, concentration, attitude and application from first minute to last. Especially when Jurgen makes that triple change on 70 minutes that he loves to do. The changes need to be effective though. Not disrupt our momentum or make us do anything that gets Villa or their crowd up. Three points please. Get it done!
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