Villa got a midweek pick-me-up with a dominating run-out against Brighton’s young B team. A win is a win, always good, and it was nice to see Jota, Hourihane, and Grealish back in the goals. Watching the highlights, it was easy to imagine us running away with the Championship this year.
But it’s not going to happen. Instead, some are starting to have a hard time imagining Villa not rejoining the Championship.
We know the story up to now…mistakes, bad officiating, naïveté, adaptation. They all add up to just four points and a spot in the drop zone.
So, to say today’s game is a big one would be an understatement. Villa need confidence. They need three points. They need to feel like maybe the tide can turn.
Me, I think it can. But it’s down to the players. If we were in sight of beating Arsenal away, then they should be thinking they can beat Burnley at Villa Park. They should be taking a deep breath, reflecting on how close they’ve been at times, and realizing one solid 90 can reignite the season’s optimism and put a lot of regrets to the side.
Wouldn’t hurt taking a little pressure off, either. City and Liverpool loom, and while we can’t just capitulate, we have to be realistic and assume the games against Burnley, Norwich, and Brighton’s A team could be season-defining. Build some points and belief, and maybe we go into tougher games with the world’s best having something besides fear in our throats. The upside is that the rest of the so-called big six aren’t quite as intimidating (or good) as they have been, so there are points available (as we saw at The Emirates) that we might not have expected.
But that’s the future. Today it’s Burnley at Villa Park. One game at a time. And however it happens, three points, please.
Team news: Deano’s switching it up. Hourihane and Nakamba both in, along with Matt Targett. We’ll see how they line up.
Heaton, Guibert, Engels, Mings, Targett, Nakamba, Hourihane, Grealish, McGinn, El Ghazi, Wesley.
Over to you.