Just two weeks into the Dean Smith era and it will be Aston Villa’s fourth outing under his guidance as Bolton come calling. Talk about hitting the ground running. So far, it’s been a mixed bag, results-wise, but I’m going to take James Chester at his word when he says the style and performances are getting better. He ought to know better than I.
And I think most would agree we deserved more out of our visit to Loftus Road.
However, we seemed to get crossed up and caught out when the official played the advantage, and there you go 0-1, and we couldn’t put anything in the net on our own behalf.
A week later, Smith’s had a chance to actually work with the side for an extended period for the first time since he arrived. The preparations included a closed-door intrasquad game at near match tempo that gave him a chance to run the rule over the full squad (minus Bjarnason). Whether this leads Deano to make any changes remains to be seen.
Does Bree get a look-in? More time for Bolasie or El Ghazi? Will Lansbury get a shot? Would he sit Jack, or does he feature with McGinn and Hourihane? Will we see Whelan or Jedi? Team sheet should be out soon, answering these probing questions. Probably before I get this up.
Anyway, it’s about time for another three points. This isn’t meant as a criticism or sign of impatience. We’d have expected to be beating Bolton with almost anyone in charge. But the reality is that we’re just two places and two points above the Wanderers on the wrong side of mid-table. And it could well be the case that what Smith is trying to implement might lead to a step back before it settles in and produces results that we’d all like to see.
Being a little more clinical in front of goal wouldn’t hurt anything either.
Over to you.