If Villa are going to find ways to slow the traffic and relieve pressure, they have to hold the ball better. They have to get upfield and settle more, not just counter full tilt and go right back to defending because we simply do not have a deadly striker to make those breakouts count.
The extreme summer makeover, as we also all know, was going to happen whether we were promoted or not. The only difference is that promotion meant we had a lot more money to spend. The real question will be whether—after all that spending—we can score enough.
So far, I think Villa have done good business. From what I’m reading, we’re out around £74m–£82m for El Ghazi, Jota, Wesley, Hause, Mings, Targett, and Konsa, then whatever we paid for Guilbert. So, seven new signings in this window so far for around £7.5m–£12m a pop. Pretty reasonable. And all fitting Dean’s and Purslow’s criteria.
I’ve seen Villa mocked a bit for their celebrations following the dramatic shootout victory at The Hawthorns. But when you think of all that’s happened, all that the players and supporters have been through, you can’t begrudge them one bit. It was a feat worth celebrating. A moment worth cherishing. No, we didn’t win any silverware, didn’t claim promotion. But what we did celebrate on the night was long overdue.
The players are buzzing after winning 10 in a row and securing a playoff spot. But now we’re being seen in the press as an unstoppable force. Moved from underdogs to favorites. And that’s now the challenge Villa, and Dean Smith, face going forward.