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PREVIEW | Villa v Millers

17 September 2018

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Aston Villa are the opposition for Paul Warne’s men as they travel to Villa Park on Tuesday night, in the Sky Bet Championship. We will take a look at who the Millers will be facing in our opposition analysis…

In the Dugout

Steve Bruce will be in the dugout for Aston Villa on Tuesday night. The 57-year old has been successful both as a player and a manager, being one of the most experienced Championship managers currently on the circuit. As a player, the former defender made over 700 career appearances, representing Gillingham, Norwich City, Manchester United, Birmingham City and Sheffield United. At Norwich, he won the Football League Cup in 1985 and the Football League Second Division in the 1985/86 season. Bruce is mostly known for his spell at Manchester United, where he won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups, three Charity Shields, a Football League Cup, a European Cup Winners’ Cup and a European Super Cup. He was named by Gary Neville in 2006 as the best in the club’s history when talking about his defensive partnership with Gary Pallister.

After retiring in November 1998, he was already the player-manager of Sheffield United. He has also managed Huddersfield Town, Wigan Athletic (Twice), Crystal Palace, Birmingham City, Sunderland and Hull City. At Birmingham, he won his first major silverware as a manager, winning the Football League First Division Play-offs in 2002. After relegation, he also guided Birmingham back to the Premier League, this time as runners-up in the 2006/07 season. At Hull City, he had his most success, guiding the club to two promotions to the Premier League, 2012/13 as runner-ups and 2016 via the Play-offs which coincided with him taking Hull to their first FA Cup Final in 2013/14, where they lost 3-2 to Arsenal. All of that was coupled with him guiding them into the Europa League for the first time. He joined Aston Villa in October 2016 and took them to the Play-off Final last season, where they were narrowly pipped to promotion to the Premier League as they were defeated 1-0 to Fulham.


Last season’s Play-off finalists are currently sitting in 12th position, one place above the Millers. In the last five games, Villa have drawn four times and lost once, with their most recent result being a 1-1 draw away at Blackburn Rovers. Villa have also conceded nine goals in those previous five games

Previous Meetings

This is the seventeenth time these teams have met with Aston Villa winning eleven of those fixtures. The Millers have won four of the fixtures and there has only has been one draw between the sides, dating back to January 1971 which finished 1-1. In the last six meetings, Rotherham have only won once, winning away at Villa Park 3-1 in October 1971 and losing the other five. In the last meeting, Aston Villa won 2-0 at the AESSEAL New York Stadium in March 2017, courtesy of an own goal by Will Vaulks and a Jonathan Kodjia goal.

Ones to Watch

Our ones to watch start with goalkeeper Ørjan Håskjold Nyland. The 28-year old Norwegian international joined Aston Villa in August 2018 on a three-year deal from German side FC Ingolstadt II. He has represented Norway at U18, U21 and senior level and has been ever-present for Villa since his summer move.

In defence, James Chester is the main man to watch. The Wales international came through at Manchester United and had productive loan spells at Peterborough United, Plymouth Argyle and Carlisle United before joining Hull City. The defender was part of the most successful spell in Hull’s history alongside Steve Bruce and earned a reported £8 million move to West Bromwich Albion. In August 2016, Chester joined Villa for an undisclosed fee. Chester signed a four-year deal at Villa Park and has been ever-present for Villa forming a partnership with Manchester United loanee Axel Tuanzebe, who rejoined the Villa in summer on loan for the remainder of the season after a previous spell last season.

In midfield, Connor Hourihane rescued a point for Villa in their last fixture, with a stoppage time free-kick. The Irish international joined Villa in January 2017 from Barnsley on a three-and-a-half-year deal could feature in a midfield containing Villa’s own Jack Grealish. The 21-year old has represented Villa over 100 times after a productive loan spell at Notts County and was their star player in their Play-off Final defeat against Fulham last season, leading to national reports of him attracting interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool.

Upfront, Jonathan Kodjia is the main goal threat. He is Villa’s top scorer in the league with three and has been a prolific striker at this level with both Villa and previous club Bristol City. They can also call upon Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham, who made his first Villa start on Saturday. While at Bristol City, he won two individual rewards being their Player and Young Player of the Season as well as being Bristol’s top scorer, making him the first player ever to win those three awards in the same season.

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