Now the reality of Europe begins to set in: Between Saturday’s late comeback win against Palace and a visit to Stamford Bridge and struggling Chelsea Sunday, Villa are in Warsaw as the group stage of the Conference League kicks off.
Nine unanswered against Everton and Hibernian. But. That’s how Villa should be handling inferior opposition instead of sweating out cup ties against League Two teams.
So here we are, start of a new season, and this one’s full of hopes and expectations. Me, I’m cautiously optimistic. Which is probably what I’ll have put on my gravestone. As Emi Buendia’s injury illustrates, football can be cruel no matter how well you look to be set up. But. Emi’s only one player and Emery’s reaction has been excellent. Villa were never going to live or die based solely on Buendia.
Preseason is now history, and Villa have come through the summer’s six matches unbeaten. Not a bad showing given the competition and some of the conditions, and from the outside, it seems to have been a very useful training camp.
Villa’s summer tour in America came to a close with another 3-3 draw, this time against Brentford. Good game for the neutrals, and a lot of hard minutes out there. So, three PL-level games and five points out of nine against Newcastle, Fulham and Brentford. Not the worst return from training, and Emery seems upbeat enough about it all.