final whistle approached it was us who were hurrying to try for a winner and them that seemed happy with a point. With that in mind there was another inevitability about what came next. Still, may as well be optimistic again you best team in the league, on form, with a makeshift defence. Roll on January. 24th December: Tommy Elphick back from Hull. And on that subject, Happy Christmas and congratulations to Micah Richards, who has now gone 800 days without playing a competitive game. We tried to work out H&V abacus broke. 26th December: Swansea 0 Villa 1. got used to, but it was the first win in four and a lot more important. None of the team starts and we saw something after twenty minutes that nobody would have thought possible a Villa manager changing the formation to deal with how the opposition were playing. They edged the first half although we had the better chances and after half-time we got our noses in front and looked the more likely to score. Which we did, when Bolasie split the defence, Hutton put over a cross and there was Conor Houirihane to score again, this time with a header. 25 minutes to go and we managed to negotiate 24 of them without much problem but El Ghazi just had to come steaming in with the most pointless challenge ever to give away a late penalty. But of course, what with it being possibly one of his last matches for us, Orjan Nyland had to save it, win the game and give us three very useful points. 27th December: Old Trafford to have a broken toe looked at. 29th December: The day begins with news that Preston 1 Villa 1 would have been a bit of a disappointing five to five. In a battle of the two biggest injury lists in the Championship they were better than us for most of the match. They hit the bar early on and the post in the second half. Naturally, we then manged to score thanks to Tammy Abraham again from a corner on half-time but what should have been the start was as good as it got and an own goal from Ahmed Elmohamady was the only other time we got the ball anywhere for you) and with three right-backs in defence ve Bruce for you) we were never happy against a team lumping long balls forward all day Bjarnasson missed a chance towards the end but that was about all there was to say. We got away with a point we just about not going to get us anywhere. At least 2018 is over now we go again. 30th December: time, if not the rest of the season. Better news regarding Tammy Abraham, as Dean says Che tempting fate). 31st December: Charlton. And Happy New Year to Sheffield Wednesday, as Steve Bruce is about to become their new manager. 1st January: The day begins with a story that Tammy Abraham wants to end his l good job it was in the Sun, not a newspaper, because as Villa 2 QPR 2 showed, at the well enough and John McGinn hit the bar before sending over a perfect cross for Abraham to head us into the lead. And then, for some reason we that way tactics last seen in the pre-Smith days. Perhaps it was the influence of the returning Tommy Elphick. Anyway, we let QPR back into the game and even though their late in the first half goal was pretty much unstoppable, they should never have been in the position to score it. A lengthy stoppage for injury at the start of the second half seemed to help them a lot more than it did us and a counter-attacking second goal for them was hardly against the run of play. Eventually we got back into the game, equalised thanks to an Anwar el Ghazi ball that Abraham scored from and had enough chances to win but none of them went close enough even with the lengthy amount of time added on. 2nd January: million bid for Tammy Abraham accepted, he played in the Charity Shield/an under-23s match to sign Wolves defender Kortney Hause. Ah, the ever-accurate English press.