So, the Monday game, meaning it’s felt like a long time since the goalless draw at Elland Road. It’s been even longer, 24 years, since Villa and Forest have faced each other at the City ground in a Premier League match.
A few weeks ago we were largely filled with optimism. Now it feels like the bottom has dropped out. And somewhat remarkably, Steven Gerrard, Christian Purslow’s man-crush, is already fighting for his job.
You’d think we should be past this, but it’s the first home match of the season and supporters are already on edge. A poor 0-2 defeat away to newly promoted Bournemouth will do that. I can’t pretend I have a lot to say that hasn’t already been said. Bottom line, Villa desperately need a win. That tends to be the case when there’s no feel-good factor and the team’s run of form under a new manager mirrors Gary Neville’s at Valencia. Villa basically seem to have stalled out.
Needless to say, Villa’s 0-2 setback triggered a sort of meltdown. What’s the problem? For one, Villa aren’t playing to their strengths.
And here we are. After what seemed one of the shortest off-seasons in memory, football and Villa are back. Well, the Premier League was back yesterday because TV, but you know what I mean. It’s Bournemouth away to open for us, and Gerrard’s team sheet has a couple surprises: No Mings or Watkins in the starting XI for chapter one of 38.