By 90Min
October 02, 2017

Aston Villa's 1-0 victory against Bolton on Saturday saw the Villans extend their unbeaten record to eight league games.

 

In that time, Villa have picked up 18 points, winning five and drawing three since losing to Reading in mid-August.

Image by Michael Plant

Saturday's win was also significant as it marks the club's longest unbeaten league run in a single season for nearly eight years.

 

The last time Villa managed to go more than eight games unbeaten in a season, Martin O'Neill still occupied the Villa Park dugout.

 

The impressive set of results began after a 1-0 defeat to Liverpool in December 2009, in which Fernando Torres scored a late winner.

 

Villa followed up this result with two successive 0-0 draws against West Ham and Arsenal, before defeating Fulham 2-0.

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O'Neill's side showed their ability to again compete with the league's top sides and drew against Tottenham and Manchester United in their next two games, before trashing Burnley in late February.

 

Goals on the day from Ashely Young, Stewart Downing, Emile Heskey and Gabriel Agbonlahor extended Villa's unbeaten run to six games.

 

Villa's cup interests meant they didn't play in the Premier League for three weeks, and they followed up their Wembley disappointment - where they lost to Manchester United in final of the League Cup - with an underwhelming 0-0 draw at Stoke.

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Three days later, a second half James Milner strike gave Villa all three points at the DW Stadium, before an inadequate performance against Wolves resulted in two dropped points at home.

 

The claret and blues slipped up again at Villa Park in their next home match - a 2-2 draw to Sunderland - which marked their tenth and final unbeaten game in the league.

 

Villa were absolutely blown away at Stamford Bridge three days later, where they lost 7-1 to Chelsea.

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The Villans ultimately finished sixth for the third season in a row, which on the surface looks like a successful spell for the side.

 

However, it was a strange time for the Midlands club who had once again failed to break into the top four, in the year that Liverpool's stranglehold over the Champions League places ended.

 

It was a bitter pill for the Midlands club to swallow when Tottenham, and not Villa, filled the void.

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Even more frustratingly, Manchester City finished fifth and their financial backing meant they looked destined to continue climbing the table over the coming years.

 

O'Neill and Villa seemed dejected and perhaps realised their chance to qualify for the Champions League had gone.

 

The Northern Irishman had also irked a minority in the Holte End who had grown exasperated with his perceived negative tactics.

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The unbeaten run of ten games was impressive, but draws against four teams who would ultimately finish in the bottom half of the table, slightly detracts from its credibility.

  

The record is also less admirable considering Villa drew seven of those ten games.

 

The negativity at Villa Park was growing and after a discouraging summer transfer window, Villa parted company with arguably their greatest manager in the Premier League era.

Those in the Holte End will be hoping the 2017/18 season has a happier ending for Steve Bruce, than the 2009/10 campaign had for Martin O'Neill. 

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