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.