As Dean Smith plays out these final matches, it’s clear he’s taking a long look at what he’s got and basically auditioning the squad in advance of the summer. I’m not expecting him to unearth any surprises, as I’m pretty sure they know what they’ve got. But, you keep faith with your players by giving them every chance to finish what they started. And there’ll be some big decisions to make. It’s a tricky moment. Stalwarts and ever-presents may becomes substitutes in three months.
Almost in defiance of supporters, Dean Smith has put Ross Barkley back in the starting XI. He’s taking a big chance here. Is Barkley is capable of seizing it?
Following a late, three-goal outburst against a fragile Fulham to get their second win without Jack, Villa will go without him once again today. Trouble is, Liverpool are a slight step up in quality.
One of the criticisms in Jack’s absence is along the lines of “Villa don’t have much to show for £250 million.” Which is a tad unfair, I think. We are still sitting 10th with just 10 to play. So, once again, a little perspective on where that money went, and why, to me, it’s nothing like what it seems.
It’s Friday, there’s football, and still no Jack Grealish. Does it matter against Newcastle? Who knows. But the barcodes are starting to get nervy, Steve Bruce is in the cross-hairs again, and Villa aren’t the same without their best player. However, they should be getting at least a little bit used to not having him.