Bournemouth vs Aston Villa: It All Starts Here

And here we are. After what seemed one of the shortest off-seasons in memory, football and Villa are back. Well, the Premier League was back yesterday because TV, but you know what I mean. It’s Bournemouth away to open for us, and Gerrard’s team sheet has a couple surprises: No Mings or Watkins in the starting XI for chapter one of 38.

Villa’s Summer So Far and Life after Beale

Been away on business for a week, and I guess the big news has been the departure of Michael Beale and the finalizing of Diego Carlos. Oh, and a welcome to Robin Olsen, too, and a farewell to Matt Targett.

Like Kamara, I’ve no idea how Carlos will do. We know he was highly valued and sought after, like Kamara, and he looks rather strong and no-nonsense. Will hopefully bring a little of that menace we’ve lacked. We’ve all probably seen the various graphics illustrating his game, and drawn our own conclusions. On paper, anyway, it looks to be smart, quick business so far.

Wolves vs. Aston Villa: The Run-in Starts

If anyone were to ask what the most significant fixture of this season was, pretty sure a number of us would point to Villa’s collapse in the reverse fixture in October. So, in some ways, sitting a place and 10 points behind Wolves, who blew a 2-0 lead themselves against Leeds to lose 3-2 in their last outing, this match might be some kind of a measuring stick. Might mean nothing.

But with seven left to play and five clubs level or within three points of Villa, the goal of a top-half finish ought to lend some importance to the outcome.

The Business End of the Season Starts with Leeds

Right now, I like where Villa are at. With only the pressure of impressing the manager and retaining a spot next season, they’ve got only themselves to look at. Sure, some kind of calamity could see them dragged into danger, but putting that aside, it’s about looking inward and upward. Far from having nothing to play for, they’ve got just enough to chase for now as far as the table goes. Being a largely overlooked dark horse is a good place for a squad to find itself in.