I think this can be a tidy side. There was slick passing and interplay. Villa weren’t slow on the ball. Good positional reading, combativeness, and energy. What Villa look like with a preferred (and very much debated) starting XI is beginning to look appetizing.
No one knows how Villa will approach the match. If it were me, I’d probably lean toward playing this one in two phases, perhaps by starting 4-5-1, trying to blunt Chelsea, then look to get more attacking in the second. But that’s me.
The question is whether Smith will want to go all in for grabbing the first, or keep his powder dry, go for 0-0 as long as possible, and then throw on more firepower? Not at all sure he’ll want to start out with a combination that’s barely played together against such a strong side, however much he might want to see them all together.
Yes, some are fretting, but here’s a sober look about Villa’s summer business and season prospects.
Barrow was fun, but it all gets more serious today with Brentford at Villa Park. Further complicating matters, Tyrone Mings has picked up a knock, and John McGinn and Jacob Ramsey appear to be isolating. Welcomey to your first Premier League start, Carney Chukwuemeka.
The annual cup runs begin this evening with Villa traveling to Barrow for a second-round Carabao Cup tie on the heels of a 2-0 victory over Newcastle. It was good to get that first win of the season under the belt, and it will be interesting to see who features for Villa tonight given the niggling injuries, fitness issues, players to bed in and youngsters knocking on the door.