Hull City at home is the type of game that normally has ‘Villa home win’ written all over it and the team didn’t disappoint. After racing into a 2-0 lead before half-time in impressive style, Villa held on to maintain an unbeaten league start to the season. The Villa forwards impressed and in the second half, for some reason, Hull City decided to take their frustrations out on substitute Jack Grealish with the Villa winger’s first five touches being met with crunching fouls that resulted in three Hull yellow cards.
The next day, the transfer deadline day saw initial disappoint as Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley seemed to slip through Villa’s hands. Roberto Martinez also wanted the Red Devil (a good sign), but with some smart last-ditch negotiations Villa got their man 16 hours after the deadline.
After the disappoint of cup defeat reasons to be cheerful as a Villa fan soon followed…
1. The league table never lies.
For the past three seasons it’s told Villa fans that our team isn’t very good and very few would argue with that. Now, for two weeks, it’s telling us we finally maybe making steps in the right direction.
Yes, the next five fixtures will certainly test our mettle, but I for one are looking forward to it.
Rather than get pessimistic about those games, lets think positively. None of these games are givens. If Stoke can win at Manchester City, then anything (and I mean ANYTHING!) is possible.
Before Villa’s next game, the top two teams Chelsea and Swansea will play each other. A draw there and a win for Villa at Anfield (where bar a Suarez dive, we would have won the last two times), then Villa will be top of the league…and the title race will be on like Donkey Kong!
2. Villa are beefed up
Looking at those forthcoming matches where Villa play last season’s top six in the space of seven games, I feel a hell of a lot more confident after this summer transfer window about Villa being resilient enough to get through that period in one piece and with some points on the board.
Just look at Villa’s last two Christmas campaigns under Lambert for examples of the team folding in.
With the additions of Senderos and Cissokho (and the rebirth of Alan Hutton) the defence is less rash and certainly more physically imposing. In the middle of the park, Carlos Sanchez and Tom Cleverley should give the midfield a lot more bite.
I just hope Christian Benteke is going to play some part in those games. As I always say, with him in your team, you have a chance against any team, especially now with the rest of the team looking more solid.
3. Villa’s Keepers
Vlaar is still a Villa player. Delph is still a Villa player and Benteke is still a Villa player. Media Muppets has been dining out on newspaper rumours on them leaving for months.
Yet again, those stories haven’t been worth the paper they are printed on and whatever the equivalent metaphor for online stories is.
To be frank, I don’t think the top four teams fancy Vlaar and with the Villa captain having a young family, it’ll take a good reason (and good team) to uproot him. Being the captain and one of the only players to have universal support from the fans (despite his mixed first season), he’s not going to want to go to some middling club. Speaking of which, I never thought there was a chance of him moving to Southampton.
Despite keeping their main men, the club have been caught short with Lerner putting up the club for sale, in terms of the renewal of Delph and Vlaar’s contracts. By not acting swiftly, now after Vlaar’s World Cup showing and Delph’s England call-up, it’s going to cost them a lot more in wages.
Also, with the prospect of Delph and Vlaar being free agents at the end of the season and the personal financial advantages that brings, the vultures will soon be gathering with tempting offers tempting them away from B6.
Still, at least in terms of the present, Villa can make strides in improving on the pitch with them still at the club.
4. It’s a good time for the international break.
Hopefully Vlaar will overcome his calf problem in time to return after two weeks. No doubt Cissokho will welcome the break too, after his knock a week ago. Most importantly, for Villa fans, returning from the break after having two weeks in third spot, will be like starting the season all over again, but this time with the strange feeling of optimism!
5. No fatalities during the Hull game
Jack Grealish is still alive despite the visit from up north of several hit men to Birmingham at the weekend.
PS – A bonus reason this week to be cheerful is the fact Aston Villa have a captain who can successfully pull off the cardigan and rucksack combo look! What a dude. (see picture of Vlaar above).