A week of high drama off the pitch, and drama…off the pitch. As far as Grealish is concerned, anyway. While I feel for him, like Deano says, he’ll be fresh, and movitated for Leicester, which is the most important thing where Villa are concerned.

And while we might all be rather nervous coming into a match on a three-game win streak, Leicester are having injury issues, meaning it might be a fortuitous bit of scheduling that sees them coming up today, rather than a couple-three weeks down the line. Guess that depends on how honest Brendan Rodgers is being.

I think the odd thing for me is that looking at the upcoming fixtures, my expectations are much different than they were this time last year. Doesn’t mean everything will go well, but I do think we’re a better team. I think the players also know we’re better, and with three wins out of three to start the season, the pressure is definitely not as intense as it otherwise might be.

Everyone will still be feeling good from Liverpool, McGinn’s had a great few outings for Scotland, Luiz is finding his stride in Brazil’s famous kit, and Jack at least had an impressive run-out against Wales. And he’ll probably be itching to prove himself. He may always have a ready smile, but he’s extremely competitive, never mind not lacking in self-belief. Gareth’s snub may be very good for Villa.

So, I don’t expect any changes against Leicester. Why would there be? Trezeguet will keep playing as long as he’s contributing, and he’s been contributing. That isn’t to say Traore isn’t better, but Smith will likely reward Trez’s effort to keep the starting spot, and that’s probably the best thing for the dressing room.

Me, I’m always cautiously optimistic. What I like is that I believe we have every chance of making it four in a row, but that it doesn’t really matter much if it doesn’t come off.

A win, though, regardless of who Leicester field, would provide a serious boost to the club. Twelve out of 12 points is no small thing to start a season. Look at the table: Sides at the bottom are already in deep holes compared to Villa. As you know, I don’t do predictions, but I’m looking forward to the Foxes and finding out what the match will tell us about Villa on the heels of our famous night against the scousers. To push on, we need to follow big wins with good performances.

As far as the window goes, I admit I thought we’d get another in. But, I think the good start has eased fears, and Championship players with high price tags…They’ll be available in January, too, and I’d think for less. Have to admit, I’m not that fussed about Benrahma. With only West Ham seriously interested in the end, it’s seems there’s no consensus that he’s worth what Brentford were asking. Villa had the money, and chose to stand pat. That’s a sign of confidence and prudence.

So. Let’s make it four, which would be more than one-third the number of points we accumulated all of last season, and nearly half the wins. We’d be doing ourselves a serious favor, and would jump back ahead of Liverpool with a game in hand. (I love writing that.) And did I mention Jack is going to have a point to prove?

Over to you.

Comments 184

  1. Thanks JC- We seem to be lucky so far on the injury front, other teams not so much, Leicester struggling and Liverpool have now lost Van Dyke.If ever there was a season to cause an upset its this one.

  2. Great post John

    I am really looking forward to the game.

    It makes a HUGE difference going into a game expecting to Win.

    12 points would be Amazing.

    Truly looking forward to watching our beautiful football team playing some scintillating attacking majestic football.

    Jack is the most wonderfully balanced skillful footballer in the Premier League – beautiful human bein.

    Dougie is tenacious and plays with the rhythm of the Samba beat

    Barkley is devastating and destructivene

    Ollie Watkins gives us lightening speed and wonderful movement with instinctive finishing

    Even Trez looks passionate and direct.

    Come on you Villa Boys.

    4 out of 4 – I’m telling you.

  3. I hope we make it 4 from 4. Would be statement for sure.
    Unfortunately we don’t have a good record against Leicester and it will be extremely hard tonight. Rodgers is a very good manager.

    They apparently have some injuries, but I guarantee Vardy sbd Evans will play. It will just be Leicester playing games with us.

    The last time we played Leicester it should have prove been Smiths last game. Nobody would have had any complaints if he eas sacked after that 4-0 defeat.

    We’ve got a lot better since then, and as Smith said, let’s make up for that 4-0 battering

  4. I’d like to see Traore start. He had a good few games with his country.

    Looking forward to watching Grealish and Barkley again.

    Watching Fulham and Sheffield. Poor sides. We should comfortably stay up if we avoid injuries

    Because our squad isn’t anywhere near good enough to handle any injuries. Only two strikers is very concerning. We have to pray our first 11 stay fit to January

  5. Sheffield United look awful.

    Wish we got Lookman on loan. Kid is quality winger. Direct. Great feet. Everything Trez and Ghaizi aren’t

  6. Great leader JC and nice comments RichardS. Both spot on.

    Mitro missed a hat trick today

    Frem, you must be watching a different Villa team as Trez was great against Liverpool. Remember his cross for Watkins 3rd?

    Will be a tough game today

  7. VillaM. Yes. But he does things like that he only does a few times a season. He needs to do it more often

    Another good result 1-1 with place and Brighton. Two teams wd should be looking to compete with, or finsih above

  8. Frem,

    It’s not ideal, one striker. On the plus side, he’s young and very fit. Guessing he has a good injury record. On the downside, injuries don’t care about history.

    I’m thinking the inability to move on more players has something to do with it. Then we already had three wins in our pocket before the deadline, and with January not that far away, the urgency might not have been there. I’m guessing Traore could fill in, and probably not badly.

  9. Frem,

    You would also hope that Davis can finally start taking chances. At least he won’t be up top all alone. Barkley and Jack could each get 10+ goals.

    It would have been nice to have signed King, but at least we still have a great team.

  10. Frem- I know what you said bud and I would of complained, I thought he was doing well with half a toolbox and several big injuries. Sometimes you have to look beyond the results mate.

  11. JC- I think Watkins has had 0 injuries, he’s a good athlete and looks balanced physique wise, You never know but usually quick players get plagued as kids with hamstring problems, he doesn’t appear to have had growing problems at all , I think he was a man pretty early if you like not a late starter.

  12. No surprises on the team sheet (apart from Engels making the bench and Davis not).

    Starting XI:
    Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, McGinn, Luiz, Barkley, Trezeguet, Watkins, Grealish

    Subs:
    Steer, Elmohamady, Nakamba, Hourihane, El Ghazi, Traore, Engels

  13. The way I see it is Traore covers the RW and CF and ElGhazi can Cover the all three front spots.

    I know he’s not mr popular at the moment but I think Or rather I am intrigued to see ElGhazi in the team with Barkley and Watkins and reinvigorated SJM. I don’t think his story at Villa is over just yet.

  14. Is Davis injured or left out?

    How great does it feel to know we’re not in another relegation dogfight??? I’m not sure if I can relax in games, but I feel a lot different this year.

    I really like how Jack called Barkley and said “something really exciting is happening here. Please come as you can be a major part of it”

    I think Jack has now surpassed Paul McGrath in my view of best ever Villian

  15. MK,

    Yeah, let’s give every player a clean slate. Maybe El Ghazi is blowing it up in training. If yes, then he should be sub.

    Lansbury is a huge disappointment. How he can’t make the subs with his talent is beyond me. Maybe he’s just lazy

  16. Heres a little Villa Titbit, I was at the mrs sisters in Solihull last night and her man is a Gardener. He was telling me he’s doing Gary Gardners garden 🙂 also just picked up another new blues players garden, I said can you s**t on the lawn.

    He also Knows Peter Whithe very well through his ex partner, he’s been around for dinner and everything for years.

  17. Wish Watkins would bully the new centre back a bit more. He hasn’t been at it like against Liverpool where he destroyed Gmoes and Virgil

  18. Frem- Trez has been involved in nearly every goal chance we have had and won the free kicks. Tight game but its set up for Traore to come on and get a goal maybe. Right now I would be reluctant to change much as we have the upper hand now.

  19. Trezeguez is having a good game, & Watkins hasn’t had a sniff yet due to the service & good defending.
    Can’t understand why Casteigne or whoever he is, hasn’t been booked yet.
    Beginning to really like Emi

  20. Maddison coming on. We have to stop him shooting.

    Yes Trezeguet has been ok but i just don’t ever expect him to do anything special

    Still worry about our strikers and wingers

  21. SMJ should never have had a yellow card either, he’s also having a good game.
    Curtis Davis says that the foxes are on top, load of bollock5

  22. Watkins will be fine for us but to only rely on him as the only striker is poor from the club. We have absolutely nobody else.

    If we did you’d probably have bought Watkins off for the other striker already

  23. Sometimes you just have to grind them out. Coming off the break, players away, come back, keep a clean sheet, get rewarded finally for staying on the front foot. Quality win.

  24. PW- Really? away at Leicester that put 8 past us to 1 last season and our third clean sheet and fourth win with a game in hand and second in the prem, best start to a prem season ever. I know you like a moan but that was not average. We won’t be putting 7 in the net every week.

  25. MK,

    Completely deserved. Stay up, consolidate, push on.

    I don’t really expect us to just fly through the season, but this says the club is on the right track.

  26. JC- that would be a miracle, Keeping them fit will be a challenge and we are picking up Yellows. Still I’ll take this mediocre start who knows we might get better.

  27. I said earlier Mark that not conceding 4 is a big improvement on last season and Leicester are a good team. Targett and Trezeguet are poor. 38 wins won’t change that

  28. Ian, the game I watched was one where Trezeguet continually gave the ball away (my wife rarely watches any football ands asked why he kept giving the ball away), created nothing and needlessly fouled the opposition…how was he in your game?

  29. Ignore Whiting and Frem – if you bought those miserable sods a pint, they’d complain the glass was f***in’ wet!
    If we beat Leeds on Friday, we’re TOP of the Prem., whatever anyone else does between now and Fri. midnight. 🙂

  30. VivaVilla,

    100% agree with ur comments. Paul W and Frem – we are not Bayern Munich yet, can you guys relax?

    Leicester parked the bus. They played for a draw. Leicester are a top 8 team though and they parked the bus and tried to beat us on set pieces. What does that say? Amazing job DS and team

    SHM – best player on the pitch. Grealish and Barkley also very good. Trez ran his socks off.

    Konsa and Mings- wow, wow , wow- how great are they?

    Martinez – absolutely quality

    I’m on Cloud 9. UTV

  31. How you can sum someone up you don’t even know beats me. Anyway, the smiley emoji should have made it obvious it was a tongue-in-cheek remark – prompted by the fact both you and Frem seem to do nothing but moan about the club you “support”.

  32. Paul W,

    Everyone is allowed to have comments. Not sure why ur so negative when we won our 1st four?

    I thought Trez was excellent today. Just my view, but I’m not being aggressive and saying my view only counts. Relax

  33. Targett very very good tonight. As the def has been since re start. And by good I mean superb, best in the league.

    There you go horse face souhgate. We got your def sorted. Cash konsa mings targett

  34. VillaMD,

    Yes, Trez is in for his work rate, for sure. And he does pop up with assists, etc. If Traore will work 90% of that, he’ll take his place. He did look quality when he was on.

    It’s a hard adjustment coming to the PL. Havertz, I think, was saying how much tougher it is than the Bundesliga.

  35. Couldn’t get to sleep that was a tense game. Traore has a nice touch and looks a player but I can see Deans dilemma. Trez made quite a few tackles and clearances in our box as well as being involved in many attacks. At one point he was the only forward from both teams in the bonus points in fantasy league, all the rest were defenders until Barkley scored.

  36. There’s a lot of talk about having no crowd helping us. On face value you could say that looks possible but does that mean all the teams not doing well all need the crowd there to play well? Even the likes of Liverpool and city? Hmmm might just be that Everton , Villa, and others have improved.

  37. It was a goal fit to win any game. Right now I’m totally stoked. Four games 12 points. Already 11 points clear of the drop zone. Only looking up from this point on. Expectations soaring or grounded? The team will be grounded taking it 1 game at a time, but the fans are going to fill their boots.

  38. Still buzzing.

    Barkley. That’s what we have lacked. We now have someone who can score out of nothing from long range to win us a game.

    We were very professional yesterday. Tactically solid. Defensively solid.

    Not many teams will go to there and put Leicester on the back foot for a lot of the game

  39. Another fantastic result .. it shows ust how far the team has come in such a short space of time as we are now beating teams that looked light years ahead of us a few months ago

    I think the club has played it right in terms of not going out and getting yet another striker in … the window will reopen in 2 months we have a highly paid striker due back around that tme ..we have a class player in troure who is more than capable of playing up front … we have overloaded our sqaus too many times in the past and end up with one bomb sqaud after another .. thankfully we are doing things right now

  40. The Trez debate reminds me of Cantona and Dechamps when eric called him a water carrier yet Dechamps went on to win every major honor in the game as captain and Eric just played club football winning no were near as much

    its not all about having 11 Messi’s its a team game and Trez was awesome for the team again last night

  41. trez dilemma is simple. don’t change a winning team.

    You have to earn the shirt. Doesn’t look good to drop a player when doing well just to fit in a big summer signing. Its perfect really. Troare gets time to settle in and work hard for the shirt.

    I bet if you asked super matty cash hed be very happy having trez play in front of him.

  42. It’s proof that any signing should be given at least 6 month settling in.

    Targett who I liked anyway, trez, luiz have improved and I think will get better and better.

    Cant wait to see wes back.

  43. Pinch me,I must be dreaming 4 wins 3 clean sheets ,4 comfortable performances, never under serious pressure v liverpool or leicester,trez a man possessed super since restart,target 2 nd half last night super kicked nearly as many leicester players as kicked jack,moss shocking prayer should have seen straight red,incheon striker so many fouls as casagne yet mcginn got booked for 1 st tackle

  44. Someone on Twitter said there isn’t a single player in the world he would swap Grealish for

    And you know what l, neither would I.

    We just have to orsyyhe doesn’t pick up an injury because our sqaud is that poor Ghazi is his replacement

  45. Hi all!! Well I never…
    We grind out an ugly one and win at the death!! That’s what league winners do…
    It’s quite wonderful, what’s happening, isn’t it…?
    Not getting too carried away just yet, but I may just start believing if we beat Leeds. Why not??

  46. Frem- Said on here years ago that Jack was destined for stardom, love watching him and if he had moved I would be watching that teams games too and I only really watch Villa games. I even watched those cr*p England games in case he got on, the lads special.

  47. Been thinking that this has not exactly been an easy start to the league and we could of had City as well. With that in consideration the next run of games should put us out of site if we don’t let up

    Leeds
    Southampton
    Arsenal
    Brighton
    West Ham
    Newcastle
    Wolves
    Burnley
    West Brom
    Crystal Palace

    I’m looking at that and thinking thats 30 points in some very winnable games, we could be at last seasons total by the end.

  48. I’m happy to eat several hats and admit personal stupidity at this moment in time. Never believed in Deano, truth be told… Thrilling to be proved wrong in such dramatic fashion… Haha!!

  49. I am actually starting to think about how much can we change this team and not drop to far? Should DS for instance give Traore a run at CF in some matches rather than the Trez swap? What if we were winning and rested Jack for 30mins and tried ElGhazi in this setup? Could Engles come in for Konsa etc?

    I’m not talking wholesale change just 1-2 tops of the less subbed players.

    Apparently Ross has a knee injury he’s nursing so it might not be to long before we see some change.

  50. Burnley and West Brom very poor. Have no fire power. Both will struggle.

    I didn’t believe in Smith either, but the last four games of last season, and so far this, we’ve been what a football side should be like.

  51. Johnny. I think ghost team now have a tough side to them to grind out results against all sort of teams

    Cash has a tough side to him. Mings and Konsa are just brilliant. Targett is the problem.

    I think there becomes a time Mark where we will have to rest even grealish for, unfortunately, someone like Ghaizi. And hourihane for Barkley, Davis for Watkins

    It weakens us massively unfortunately. We didn’t do enough this summer to improve depth

  52. Frem,

    Couldn’t do it all in one window. And now there is ‘depth’. Not City quality, but depth nonetheless. As in warm bodies who have played in the Prem.

    If we keep racking up points early on, we can weather a spell without everyone available and still breathe easy.

  53. MK,

    I was looking ahead, too, and found myself surprised at how favorable the fixtures are.

    There’ll be bumps in the road, and no easy games apart from Liverpool, but all you could ask for. Like you say, we could find ourselves virtually safe fairly early.

    So operation consolidation/mid-table looks to be on schedule. Fingers crossed.

  54. Last season Villa lost more points from a winning position than anyone else. I think there was good talent on the team but little confidence, in awe of the premier league and thus folded. This year which actually started last July with the team staying in the prem was all due to an increase in confidence. Then, some amazing transactions in the transfer season. Picking up Watson, Barkley, and especially Martinez has improved player’s game and confidence all the way down to the Solihull Moors. The ingredients that have transformed the team are firstly the owners who have bought into Villa 100% and Dean Smith. Not only very good on the sideline running the game but his ability to attract some of the best in the industry to be his right hand men and women. All of them inspirational in their own way. I’m sure this is a team that is going to solidify and become a top 6 side for the foreseeable future.

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