If nothing else, Bramall Lane will feel a bit more familiar than Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford as Villa seek to get back to winning ways. Not sure it’s going to be any easier to get a result, though.
Today is going to be all about mentality. If Villa believe, and play within themselves, they can come away with something. The side have to encouraged by outings against Liverpool and the like, and given yesterday’s results, it should be clear to them that with a little more composure, a little less naïveté, and 90 minutes of effort they’ll be in this one and could finally get over the hump when it comes to playing the top teams, and our own particular devil.
Steve Bruce was on the touchline at Villa Park for the first time since a fateful cabbage took flight, and his side delivered a suitably underwhelming performance. Fortunately, he’s in charge of Newcastle now, and it was Dean Smith’s Villa who walked away deserved 2-0 winners.
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.
An intriguing fixture, Man City. Villa have played a couple of quality sides already, and we’ll all be hoping they’ve learned from what they did right, and where they let things slip away.