Losing against Manchester United is a result Aston Villa fans have got used to over the last 20 years, but there’s no comfort in that. Again, you get the feeling that United were there for the taking, but Villa had key players out and the new boys were still very much finding their feet. Still on a Friday night of a Aston Villa mosaic and the first home game of the season, here’s five reasons to be cheerful as an Aston Villa fan…
1. The Return of the G-Force
Villa were very one-dimensional going forward against United with three players essentially cut from the same cloth in Sinclair, Agbonlahor and Ayew. Next week sees the return of two of Villa’s brightest creative hopes in Jack Grealish and Carles Gil. With both in contention for the first team, along with Traoré, Tim Sherwood’s team selections are going to be intriguing.
2. A New Beast
Adama Traoré is still only 19-years-old but the winger from Barcelona potentially offers the little bit of magic that Villa could have done with against United. While Barcelona can buy him back within the first three years of his five-year contract. A combination power and trickery, he’s certainly going to be an exciting talent to watch. It will be good for Villa to have a proper winger again.
3. Organised Transition
While it wasn’t the most inspiring of performances with only one shot on target against United (Agbonlahor’s token gesture header), Villa were at least organised in defence, bar some poor marking for the goal, and restricted United to only two shots on target. While most of the players are getting used to each to other, such foundations are vital as the team looks to make progress.
4. Take One for the Team
Considering Villa haven’t beaten United at Villa Park in 20 years, it’s not a bad game to sacrifice as game time to help the new players get to know each other. It’s almost like a preseason friendly in that respect. I just hope the team is gelled in time to get something from Old Trafford later on in the season.
5. Aston Villa Mosaic Effort
I’ll talk more about Villa Park displays soon, but it was good to kick-off the new season to the ‘VILLAN’ mosaic at Villa Park, after the tireless efforts of GTHEB in organising it. The mosaic looked good despite the bad luck that many fans hadn’t taken their seats in the Lower Holte due to the traffic chaos leading up to the game.
When we venture forth with more displays, it’s important for them to be supporter-led and have a supporter identity. The original ideas for the United game mosaic were ‘110%’ and then ‘Prepared’, both were designs that the club might as well have paid for.
Other club’s supporters are getting increasingly active with such displays, including groups from Crystal Palace, Watford, Manchester City and Leicester. All of which are doing some great stuff (and have to deal with the same naysayer fans of their ideas). But, we ladies and gentlemen have the Holte End as our canvas. We can go bigger.
The next step is to take things to another level. When it comes to crowdfunding though, it helps supporters to see that an idea is fully-realised first. That was one thing with the United game mosaic I had an issue with, what supporters were contributing to changed many times over a couple of months. Fully realise the idea first, then ask for backing!
But of course, there’s always a certain amount of ‘you live and learn’ when attempting such ventures. They are not easy to organise – from the design fitting the stand layout to club bureaucracy – pitfalls await around every corner!
Anyway, hopefully the team will push-on on the pitch too, as nothing helps fuel supporters enthusiasm for Villa Park trips than a team doing them justice. UTV