Naturally, based on things said and the always relentless links in the press, many have expected a big influx of exciting signings this January. Especially as Unai started clearing house and talked about upgrading the squad. But, as is most often the case, useful January signings are usually elusive or very expensive. After all, no one really wants to lose good players mid-season unless they face letting them go for free in a few months’ time.
As we move through the window, Villa will keep working with what they’ve got. So, one would hope lessons have been learned. Konsa’s spoken of hours of meetings where Emery is trying to link what the players see on the pitch to the bigger picture of what they should be seeing. Leeds will present an entirely different kind of challenge, and there should at least be space to play in.
It seems (I’m always cautious), that the club got this crucial appointment exactly right, and, in acting quickly, turned this back into a season of progress rather than what would have appeared to almost inevitably be a second half all about mounting toxicity and avoiding relegation.
Villa returned to action following the midseason interruption and lost an entertaining, wide-open game against an on-song Liverpool. It was great viewing for everyone but Villans, though it really wasn’t that rough for us, either. There were encouraging signs.
Emery obviously did well taking the reins in the middle of league play, so I’m hopeful that we’ll see a side today that’s ready to play, is playing to its strengths, and knows what it’s trying to do.