Aston Villa are off to a flying start, winning our first two fixtures in the new campaign after dispatching Fulham 0-3 on Monday night. Hard to believe, but it’s only the third time in the club’s history that we’ve won the first two matches to start a season. It was also Villa’s first away clean sheet in 27. Again, hard to believe.

The Good
Another clean sheet, three points, three goals. Jack scoring, and Villa taking advantage of a bright start to go two up in 15 minutes with Conor Hourihane getting back on the scoresheet with a trademark open-play goal. Konsa and Mings dealt well with nonstop aerial assault aimed at Mitrovic’s head. And for the second week, one of our CBs was in on the goals, spreading them well and truly throughout the side. Traore once again looked very good coming on late. Jacob Ramsey looked quite good, too.

But almost as good as the points was Super John McGinn finally looking like his old self. Two assists, both lovely, forward impetus, and much more of the dirty midfield work. Really good to see, and quite happy for him.

The Bad
You know, I’ve not really much to say. We could point to our lack of possession and sometimes sloppy play, I suppose. But the game we might have expected was altered so dramatically being up by two in the first quarter-hour that I think Villa were content to let Fulham just throw in wide crosses, deal with them, and try to break for more. Bit of a shame that Ollie didn’t get to open his league account, but he had a good game, nonetheless.

Maybe caught a bit of a break on Fulham’s disallowed goal, but it was a clear foul, and Konsa would’ve been running into the rebound space. Mings getting a very slight touch on the shot with his head seemed to put Martinez off, leading to the spill, and the keeper wasn’t happy. He’s not shy, and that’s what you need.

The Ugly
The Cottagers’ defense. Looked as bad or worse than ours in more than one match last season.

Final Verdict
With six points on the board already, Villa have reached nearly 20% (17% to be precise) of last season’s point total. The value of a quick start is so hard to overstate. And two wins is almost a quarter of our victories last year (9). To see us sitting fourth, momentarily, after a couple games…well, I don’t know what to make of it. Won’t last, but it makes fun viewing of the table, for once.

Obviously, Fulham are struggling defensively. But you can only play what’s put in front of you, and when you’re playing winnable games, you just have to win. Villa have excelled at creating early chances, but too often they’ve gone begging. Monday, we converted, and what a difference it makes. The game was really over after 15 minutes, and certainly after 48 when Tyrone Mings sealed the points. And whatever we say about the Cottagers’ defending, all three of our goals were well worked and taken. Jack and John really set the tone with the opener, and it was a good finish from a tough angle.

Fact is, some teams are going to be more open than others. We couldn’t really break down Sheffield, but got the set-piece winner. Fulham were there for the taking, and we were clinical when it mattered.

To be honest, I’m not quite sure Villa knew what to do at two up. We obviously wanted more, and missed out on a true romping, but otherwise, as I said, we seemed quite content to continue our defensive focus, staying organized, letting Fulham knock it about, and looking for the breaks. Lots of balls in to Mitrovic, naturally, but Konsa and Mings did a nice job putting him off when they weren’t intercepting. Players were also throwing their bodies around, intent on keeping the clean sheet and not giving Fulham hope. Don’t forget, Fulham can play some nice football. They lost by the same margin to Liverpool opening day, but did put three past Leeds.

So. Good stuff. And I’m imagining, just from the subs, that Villa can field a more dangerous side from the off in weeks to come. Never mind incomings, because I still don’t think we’re done. And whatever you might think about Trez, it was classy for Dean to leave the side unchanged and not just put Traoré in to start.

Again we have a very unhelpful cup game with Stoke before Liverpool come calling. I’d like to think we’ll take largely the same approach as at Bristol. Because everyone knows the scousers are going to give us all we can handle.

But we’ll get to that. No sense ruining the afterglow until it’s necessary.

Over to you.

Comments 61

  1. Thanks JC- The only bad for me was Dopey Targett, compared to Cash on the other side who has regularly saved Konsa and Mings, Targett seems to be startled by players appearance in his vicinity. Trent thingy bob and Salah next for him.

    I must admit though I was expecting more going forward from Cash but I suppose getting used to the team and perhaps Traore getting his chance will help that maybe.

    big Bonus was McGinns back, and you have to say for a bunch of players that have not played much pre-season (new players) they look pretty fit, look out when they are. Smiths right when he said we have upped our athleticism.

  2. Yeah to have 6 points and 2 wins already is massive. It took us 8 games last season to get to 6 points! I just so hope we get another 2 quality players in. Would make our squad so much stronger and cover us well. Let’s not leave ourselves short.

  3. Plus having 2 wins already may just make us a bit more attractive to players. Every little helps! I’d go for Barkley over rlc. More a number 10. Would be more than ok with rlc though. His injuries a bit worrying though. And watched him other week and was very rusty.

  4. H and V. Hope sd get him. Or some quality left winger at least

    Daniel James available on loan. We should be all over that. Pure pace. Would improve us

  5. Yeah, Frem.

    Obviously we’ll know Monday about the foreign transfers, and then we’ll see where that leaves us, and how much prices will drop as the other deadline approaches.

  6. Apparently it is Craig Shakespeare that is making the difference to Villa, as he takes charge of the warm-up and preparation of the players. Read the comments somewhere about what he did before the game against Fulham, and how it made sure that he fired up the players for the start.

    Ross Barkley is a non starter, as he is not interested vin being loaned out at all, and would rather fight for his place at Chelsea, whereas Loftus-Cheek is more amenable to getting game time.
    Still talk about Benramha coming in, so let us hope so.

  7. Costa linked

    Would love him. The type of experience and nasty player woe need l. Would be a statement signing.

    Get Barkley on loan.
    Get Rashica

    Simple and needed

    We still lack depth and quality

  8. What a great loan signing.

    I have always rated Barkley.

    Pace Power Energy and Goals.

    And we can make this permanent in 12 months.

    We now have a super midfield.

    Jack – Dougie – Barkley – Mcginn

    Incredibly exciting.

    And we will be signing a new winger and possibly another striker.

    What a great start to the season.

    Our new owners have been Immense for our great football club.

    We should all be grateful.


  9. What a brilliant signing. Will add goals snd mobility

    No more Hourihane.
    .we actually have someone who can run. Can’t wait ti see Jack and Barkley linking up

    Now for Rashica and Costa

  10. What a superb piece of business by Villa to get Barkley on loan for the rest of the season. Seem Frank wasn’t that keen on him!
    Victor Nelsson , a brilliant 21 year old centre back from FC Copenhagen for £10million seems to be a very strong connection, and was playing mid-field before, so could be a very versatile signing!

    Then there is still Benramha, Sarr and Rashica among the strong candidates. Wow! this is the most amazing transfer window in 50 years, and probably ever for Aston Villa, what a time for us to be Villa fans. It is a shame that covid is preventing us from enjoying the atmosphere of Villa Park!!

  11. hmmmm

    first i know it’s a coup and i’m excited by barkely and with him and troure it will take massive pressure off jack and mcguinn.

    But! Barkley will play where jack should be. Would of spent on a lw instead and played jack in the middle. but maybe thats just me!

    and im thinking thats us done now for signings

  12. Barkley is a huge statement. To quote DS it’s a “real coup”.

    Barkley caught my eye after lockdown, so I’ve watched him closely in a few games. My view – full of energy, fast, great passer, quality shot. A bit hot headed in the tackle at times. I think Luiz will get better by playing with him.

    I guess the system is 1-4-5-1 or 1-4-3-3 depending on your view. SJM, Luiz, Barkley – compare that to what we had last season (Luiz not up to speed and SJM off form/injured).

    Sunday will be a big test for Targett. I really hope the guy can survive, but I fear for him.

    Get Benrahma in as a super-sub and we’re a top 8 team

  13. We won’t be done yet. Smith knows we are still short up front

    I expect another forward in, at least.. Maybe sarr, Rashica or even Benrama. We still lack quality and depth. Maybe King who can play wide and up front

    Left back also, possibly.

    We all know Ghaizi doesn’t possess the quality we require, and Trezeguet doesn’t either. He will work hard yes, but as soon as we have the ball he just doesn’t create anything

  14. People that rate Hourihane won’t know what’s hit them when they see Barkley. He’s mobile. Great technical ability. Tall. Strong.

    A proper midfield player

  15. frem

    i would be surprised if anyone else comes in.

    davis, watkins, toure can be cf and wes to come back.

    watkins can play lw too or anywhere across the front 3. id be surprised if we splash out 20 plus for someone to sit on our bench now.

  16. Well Frem, I’m happy with Barkley a fine footballer. I also remember Drinkwater, another fine footballer (in his day) so lets see what transpires.
    I hope everything goes smooth with the transition.

  17. H and V. It’s all about quality and depth. Our subs bench is pretty dire, let’s be honest

    Ghaizi isn’t good enough. Trezeguet isn’t much better.

    Up front we have 2 out and out strikers

    I think we will sign one more

  18. Ian. Barkley is a different level to Drinkwater. Completely different type of player

    I hope Ramsey isn’t loaned out now

    We still only have 6 players to cover 3 positions in the middle. If er let Ramsey go it’s down to 5. Plus I think Ramsey is better than you know who

  19. Love the fact that Barkley is mates with Jack Grealish and is looking forward to playing with Jack and Mcginn.

    Barkley has been in good form of late. I don’t understand why Frank has loaned him out. JT must have something on him.

    There is a good spirit in the Villa dressing room.

    And with teams having an indifferent start to the season, Villa has the opportunity to get a significant amount of points on the board.

    I don’t think teams will want to play us at present.

    I am especially delighted to see the improvement in players including Konsa and Dougie. They both look quality.

    I am looking forward to the Liverpool game on Sunday.

  20. Barkley is one of the most technically gifted players in the league on his day

    And the power in his shots are something else
    We should score plenty now. Watkins should get 20. Grealish and Barkley 10 each. Traore to get a few

  21. Barkley and Grealish on the left linking together will be phenomenal. The interchange between those two. Draw teams that side then quick switches to cash abd Traore

    Just really hope we sign one more winger/striker and we’ve done well

  22. Ian,

    No comparison between Drinkwater and Barkley. The former was washed up when he came on loan, already had his money made. Barkley coming to play every week in a footballing side and force his way into England starting team for Euros.

    + Barkley is only 26, just entering his peak years

  23. Ian

    Know what your saying. As a villa fan seen lots of transfer windows an been propert excited but in reality!! Last time feeling like this was prob signing vertout, Ayew and Amavi etc and look how that turned out! But I’m sure this will be different and better! Hope we start to see a real identity from our play

  24. Welcome Mr Barkley , this Could be exciting and also could be a team full of players trying to run with the ball and taking Shots from all over. I Trust in Mr Smith to sort it out. Would rather have seen a more all round mid come in, my memories of Ross are him coming on to run at the heart of defences not so much defending, we will see.

  25. Barkleys main floor which is why he is at villa is that his work rate has been questioned while his ability is clear to see . look at pool , munich ect they have talented player that all work increadably hard within there system of play which is what makes them truley powerful

    Ross still is a huge upgrade but like all our players he will need to work very hard for the team for him and us to reach a high level … it shows in games why the likes of trez is trusted by the manager as he is completely selfless and hasnt got ross;s ability but turns up in the right areas for the team when we dont have the ball ….AEG possibly better ability that trez but doesnt put any wete near the same type of shifts in which leaves the team exposed of course

  26. Would have been better if it was a loan to buy, but things are looking up with possibly more to come in the next 2 weeks.
    After the end of the PL window we will see some more outgoings.
    It would be nice to be unbeaten for the International break.

  27. Wow! There’s much reason to be optimistic… My natural pessimism is melting as we speak. I shall eat my grumpy hat and attempt a smile in the morning… UTV

  28. IanG,

    There’s zero chance Barkley would be loan to buy.

    I believe Lampard knew he couldn’t guarantee him a starting place, so loan him out. Plus Lampard wants Barkley to be in England 11 for Euros. Win-win.

    Barkley Said the football style at Villa under Dean Smith was also a key – hint, hint Frem ….any chance that you can retract some of your negative comments about DS ???????

  29. Villa MD

    Love that.

    It demonstrates how important keeping Jack at the club was.

    He is a superstar of the Premier League and admired my clubs and supporters alike

    And with Jack’s connections and influence who will be next through the door?

    Deli Ali?

    We now have a fooking awesome midfield and pace up-front.

    One more attacking player and I think that will be enough spending for this window.

    Who is it going to be?


    It is going to be interesting.

  30. Update: I’ll get a sheet up for the game.

    Ian’s also sent in a piece that I’ll put up after, and I’ll skip a match review.

    (We do a pretty good job analyzing performances in the comments.)

  31. It would be mad if we didn’t sign another striker.

    We have 2

    We can’t leave our self short again. It takes one injury and we are f**ked

  32. Frem,

    Don’t disagree about a third option. However, I’m thinking if someone else does come in, it would likely as not be a wide forward who could rotate over, if necessary.

    We spent a lot of money on Ollie with every intention of playing him when fit. Anyone coming in would know that, and it’s going to influence the kind of player we can get in. They’re going to be second-string, at best.

  33. Oh, and Jack called up again. Congratulations.

    No Greenwood or Foden. They’ve annoyed Gareth, apparently. Foden is talented, without a doubt, but watching City’s last game, I couldn’t tell what he was doing, and he didn’t do much.

    Jack does so much more week-in week-out.

  34. Frem

    I don’t think so. We got players who are versatile and cover now. Squad of course needs more but think it will wait until next summer. But yeah need better fortune with injuries! I’d be shocked if we add another now

  35. Martinez
    Cash konsa mings targett
    Mcguinn Barkley
    Toure. Grealish
    That’s such a better team on paper. Lots more pace and energy. If anything is like to see a lb! I do like targett but he doesn’t fit into the legs and energy categergory we seem to be going for. Cheeky bid for Henry?

  36. Engles is definitely gone. Fit but not even in the squad

    We still need a quality forward. We just lack it

    Ghaizi starts who just isn’t good. Jota on the bench. It’s all a bit poor

    Get Sarr

  37. Traores has played CF and scored more goals than on the wing just like Watkins, the thinking may be he’s the third striker until Jan and see if Wesley reappears. If not then write him off and buy again.

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