So, the season is finally up and running and while Villa haven’t exactly hit their full stride yet and still have a few big hitters injured on the sidelines, they’ve already improved on their first week in the Championship last season.
Here’s the first ‘Five Reasons to be Cheerful as Villa Fans’ of the 2017/18 season…
1. Decent Debut
Callum O’Hare stepped up to the plate with a busy and promising debut against Colchester. The Solihull boy was smart with his passing and demonstrated technical prowess, O’Hare is certainly a player that Bruce should think long and hard about keeping in the first team squad.
Yet more competition for Mr Grealish.
2. Engine Room
After making a cameo against Hull City, Joshua Onomah really stepped up against Colchester in a dynamic box-to-box performance that helped drive the midfield forward.
He was smart with the ball and also carried it well, which mixed with O’Hare’s vision, contributed to Villa having 59% possession of the game.
Of all the standout performers, Onomah was perhaps the most pleasing, as he’ll be the one that could feature the most and lift Villa up a level in an area they need to improve.
There is now genuine competition in the middle of the park now and it’ll be interesting to see who triumphs.
Conor Hourihane was notable for a few decent deliveries from set plays, but drifted in and out of the game. He was the January signing that Bruce seemed most pleased about, so it will be interesting to see if he can beat the increasing competition to start in the first team.
He was the January signing that Bruce seemed most pleased about but has seemingly gone off, so it will be interesting to see if the player can win back favour.
3. Legit No.2
Right at the end of the last podcast, I joked about needing to offload some of the club’s No.2’s (there’s a pun in there), but against Colchester, we saw a genuine no.2 rise.
I’m talking about the goalkeeper position.
Included in a good all round performance, Jed Steer was instrumental in Villa’s progress into the next round, by pulling off a penalty save and later a proper world class save to keep Villa in the lead.
You’d expect Bruce to entrust Steer in future rounds of the tournament to give him a base to challenge Sam Johnstone to be Villa’s number one.
4. Cup Draw
Villa have made it into the next round of a cup. It’s a step up from last season when they were dumped out of both cup competitions at the first attempt.
The more games we have in the League Cup, the better, as it’ll give Bruce time to try out players and help the team find some kind of rhythm for the promotion push ahead.
5. Bacuna Solution
After Leandro Bacuna’s disappointing performance against Hull City and the boos that could be heard from some fans at Villa Park, when he was substituted, there comes an instant solution to end the Bacuna situation.
It’s something MOMS has been advocating for some time now.
It looks like it’ll happen before the weekend, with Reading in pole position at the moment.
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