Chelsea 5–4 Villa (pens): Far From Ugly.

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.

Newcastle and Barrow, Rather Different Propositions

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.

So Near and Yet So Far

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.