In the end, an excellent performance and Villa were perhaps unlucky not to win in regular time. For all the changes, absences, and youth, the team seemed to know what they were doing, and the mentality was really good. I expected more timidity and hesitation. It wasn’t there, or if it was, not for long. The set-up looks good.
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.
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.
Yeah, I’m Villa and a big Grealish fan. And yeah, everyone’s sick of the narrative. But I do believe one of the big takeaways for Southgate and England is that you don’t select your #10 because you’re more worried about defending than attacking when you’ve already got seven defenders on the pitch. And if you are going to look to Grealish for an impact, you have to get him the ball.