Sloppy errors and a questionable choice of substitution cost Villa or point or three today against a Palace team they had largely contained for most of the match. Still, the team is in its infancy and there were still five reasons to be cheerful as Aston Villa fans…
1. Rock Building
Sanchez had one of his better games in a Villa shirt in his first start of the season. He was helping keep Palace at bay and his physical presence was useful in defending set plays, a strength of Palace. So why, with Palace in the ascendancy did Sherwood choose to take him off and replace him with Adama Traore? Surely the ineffective Agbonlahor whose final touch seems to have left him would have been the natural choice for Traore to replace?
Villa conceded from a corner and then had no short out ball for the defence (Amavi) when Guzan’s ill-thought distribution put his team under pressure again, which led to the second goal. Amavi though should have done a lot better though.
Still, back to the original point, Sanchez made progress and showed more of his Copa America form that will be a huge plus for Villa going forward.
2. Adama Boom!
We half suspected Sherwood was bluffing in his press conference when he said Traore was a development player and we wouldn’t see much of the winger in the short-term. He’s suddenly ready now to make an impression.
His impact was instant as he surprised the Palace backline with his pace and power to force a goal with his cross deflecting off Souaré.
Surely he will start against Notts County in the League Cup. After that you’d probably expect him to be managed careful as an impact sub. Still, surely Agbonlahor can’t start in front of him Sinclair or Ayew in the next few games based on his performance.
3. Jack Grealish
Grealish made a composed return to the Villa side. Certainly the key to getting the best out of him is for Grealish to have players on his wavelength, that will bring him into the game more to help shape Villa’s play going forward. Some of those players perhaps weren’t on the pitch against Palace, hopefully Jordan Veretout will get up to speed and Carles Gil will also make his mark in a big way.
4. Please Sir, can we Have Some More?
Considering Randy Lerner has only spent around £4m net, there’s surely a kitty left for one or two more throws of the transfer dice, despite all this ‘we must sell, before we can buy’ murmurs coming out of the club.
We need a finisher up front, that much is clear. It also looks like we could do with some experience in what could be a tricky season (again).
5. We’re Still in the Cup
Another cup run hopefully starts again on Tuesday night. We’re not going to win the league, so hopefully Sherwood takes the League Cup seriously.
Just make Traore captain on Tuesday, get Gil in there, see what Ayew can do and let’s get our shooting boots on. We’re simply not creating enough chances in the league so far, so an improvement against County is needed.
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