Football’s been just about the last thing on my mind, and it feels very strange to be coming back to the keyboard to write about a resumption of sporting hostilities when so much else has been going on. But here we are, and Villa will start fighting for their Premier League lives again in a week. God only knows what’ll we get. Regardless, it’s time to shake off the rust and get our game faces on.
Wembley again, Manchester City again. You’d like to think that on any given day, anything is possible. You’d like to think that on any given day, anything is possible. On paper, Villa have no chance. Today comes down to whether Villa are going to read that sheet of paper and believe it, or decide to write down something else.
Having announced the team sheet for today’s encounter, Smith is sticking with the 3-4-3 that’s seen us beat Burnley and contain Leicester. Though results were generally favorable yesterday, Watford’s resurgence continued earlier today, and their 3-0 victory over Bournemouth sees Villa come into the match having dropped to 18th, one point behind. Which is to say, the draw that no pundit is predicting would be a very nice point to pick up.
So I talked about draws, and how we weren’t getting enough. We got one last night. Wasn’t easy, but it was hard-earned and well-enough deserved. Finally getting a result from a winning position against a top team on the road is huge, and that’s the real takeaway for me. It should give the players belief, in both the system and themselves.
The Foxes have torn us apart once already, and now we get two extra rounds with them. With points to play for at the weekend, I hate to see such a challenging cup-tie midweek. Be nice if it were Everton, for example. Or Bolton. But it is what it is.