The League Cup starts up and poses a familiar test for Villa of late—that of focusing on the league at the expense of all other distractions. Once we’re back to mid-table in the Premier League, Villa can start taking cups seriously again, but not before. Unless of course we find the youngsters carrying us to an advanced stage.
After a dizzying summer, all of a sudden Villa’s first match is upon us. And it seems almost like an afterthought, even thought it’s hugely important for any number of reasons. This is why a traditional season preview just hasn’t been working for me right now. So here’s the crap version.
Here we are, moment of truth, more than simple silverware on the line. Apart from whichever match ultimately sealed our relegation, this is the most important game Villa have played since at least the European Cup Final. And perhaps the most important match for years to come.
Up til now, it’s all been fun and games, always another day, another possibility. After the final, well, season two in the promotion stakes will be final, for good or bad. I really just want to wake up and see that we’ve won. But before it comes to that, I have to say it’s been a good ride.
Since the job’s only halfway done, the business at hand tonight will be all about whether Boro can or will shuffle things around. Or whether you can negate Traore twice in four days using the same tactics. In other words, how will Adama and Tony Pulis react? And can Villa conjure up a repeat performance? Boro will be desperate, and Villa can’t afford to retreat into a shell. Now’s the time to roar and give Fulham something to think about.