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.
Short answer, it might. Given the differences in squad depth and fitness, Villa will inevitably field a weaker side than the one that lost to Chelsea 0-3 just over a week ago. Smith has said all the right things about the quality available to both sides, and how they both want to win and progress. But it’s clear that Villa will have one hand tied behind their back.
Yes, some are fretting, but here’s a sober look about Villa’s summer business and season prospects.
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.
Have Villa done enough to replace Grealish and keep the five-year plan? Short answer, “Yes, probably.” With more business, it could easily be “Yes, no question.” Either way, a lot of it hinges on how Danny Ings changes the way Villa play.