Preseason is now history, and Villa have come through the summer’s six matches unbeaten. Not a bad showing given the competition and some of the conditions, and from the outside, it seems to have been a very useful training camp.
Villa’s summer tour in America came to a close with another 3-3 draw, this time against Brentford. Good game for the neutrals, and a lot of hard minutes out there. So, three PL-level games and five points out of nine against Newcastle, Fulham and Brentford. Not the worst return from training, and Emery seems upbeat enough about it all.
Villa got off to a fast start with goals from Ollie and Buendia (deservedly MOTM) to glide ahead 2-0 inside of 12 minutes. But unlike league performances under Emery, it didn’t turn out to be a lead Villa could hold. There was a bit of sloppiness, bits of luck good and bad, and the usual attacks on the high line. But there was plenty to like, especially going forward.
Target areas? It’s all about priorities, how to stretch your money the furthest while getting better and deeper. I would think wide right, another striker, and a midfielder or two. Clearly, there’s no way Ramsey, McGinn, Luiz, and Kamara can play every match. Can’t see not having another striker option besides Duran, likewise a better backup keeper.
Staring down the threat of a relegation battle, the owners took decisive action in October and replaced Steven Gerrard with Unai Emery. He rewarded them with a top-half finish—and maybe more.