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Final piece of Aston Villa puzzle could be falling into place

Villa Park is once again becoming a fortress for Aston Villa and improving their form at home could be the final piece to the puzzle that propels this team among the elite in the Premier League.

Dean Smith has his sights set on European football this season and the Villa Park crowd could have a large role to play in this. As they have already shown this season, the support of the claret and blue faithful could make all the difference.

In 2020/21, the hopes of European football looked genuinely achievable at times. However, with a second half of the season drop off it was clear the side needed the boost that 42,000 screaming fans could provide.

Villa won just seven home games in 2020/21 with four of these coming in the first half of the season. There was a clear drop off and several performances which needed that kick from the crowd.

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So far this season, Villa are undefeated at Villa Park and this is no coincidence following a sell out in every fixture. The atmosphere against Newcastle was like a cauldron and it was impossible for Steve Bruce’s players to settle in the 2-0 defeat.

They were also key in ensuring, after going 1-0 down, that a makeshift squad didn’t drop their heads against Brentford. Emiliano Buendia equalised just minutes later and the applause he received will have done his confidence a world of good.

Against Everton under the lights the crowd was once again key. With 60 minutes ticking over and Matty Cash causing mayhem with his effort, the spine-tingling atmosphere the Villa fans created resulted in a capitulation of the Everton defence as Leon Bailey ran riot.

With Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Ham United and Brighton as the next three home games, the crowd will be key once again in dismantling these sides that have all found form in recent weeks.

As the last game of the season against Chelsea showed, the claret and blue army packing out Villa Park can be the deciding factor in Villa toppling any opponent they face. If Smith can make Villa Park the fortress we all know it can be, Villa will be up there with the very best this season.

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They already have seven points from a possible nine at home this season and are well on their way to smash their points tally from last season. The additional squad depth this season may also play a key role in ensuring there is no second half of the season drop off.

Players such as Bertrand Traore were guaranteed a starting place last season. However, this year, he has so far failed to record any meaningful minutes in the league. When called upon, he will be fresh and ready to contribute to ensuring Villa Park remains a difficult place for opposing teams to arrive in.

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