The 100% winning feeling continues, but while Aston Villa haven’t been all that convincing, compared with where we thought we might be three weeks ago at this stage, most fans are happy to roll with the punches and stay optimistic.
Here’s five more reasons to be cheerful…kind of…
Knowledge is Power
It was good to see Steve Bruce pi**ed off after the game against Yeovil. He knew that Villa could have as easily have lost a game they should have controlled. Similarly, he wasn’t too impressed with the team’s two performances in the league despite gaining six points.
Winning is good, but not getting complacent about it is even better. Bruce will know his team will have to lift their performance levels before they can consider themselves a promotion threat.
2. Fan Reality Check on Youth
There’s a school of thought amongst some Villa supporters (on social media anyway) that Villa should just promote the likes of Callum O’Hare and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, and they’ll fire us to the Premier League.
As MOMS keeps pointing out, there is a big gap between youth/Villa U-23 level and the senior team. The best example is Villa’s triumph in the NextGen tournament in 2013, when they beat Chelsea in Lake Como.
After winning that tournament against Europe’s best, Villa’s youth could consider themselves the best in Europe. Yet, five years later, Jack Grealish is the only remaining one left at Villa, and the highest level that he and a handful of others ply their trade is in the Championship.
Have Villa bosses held their development back? Maybe in some cases, but on the whole, the gulf to being a top level senior pro is a big one. So expectations should be managed.
That said, the likes of the promising Jack Doyle-Hayes will only improve by playing against ‘men’. So, it is good to see younger players getting minutes, as long as it doesn’t cost the team victory.
3. Still In It
If you took away all the cup memories of supporting Aston Villa in the last few decades, we’d be a sad bunch. The only thing you’d have left is the hype cycles of kit launches and Villa social media gifs. Most people would be left as hapless consumers rather than supporters willing on their team to win things.
Lets not buy into the agenda of modern football, that winning doesn’t matter anymore and that it’s not possible for teams like Villa to win anything (if Leicester can…).
Last season in the cups, Bristol City beat Manchester United and Wigan beat Manchester City. These are the memories I want to have. I don’t want to support a team who are acting like it’s in the Champions League and putting out shadow teams for domestic cup games.
By all means, rotate a few players, but don’t take the pi** out of supporters, especially those that travel away for such games. It was good to see that Bruce was conscious of that when he brought on Kodjia and Grealish.
“There were a lot of supporters here who have come and paid big money to watch us,” said Bruce, after the game about bringing Grealish on.
“You have to try and entertain them as well.”
Playing seriously weaken line-ups in the domestic cups has never benefited Villa in recent history. I don’t recall it helping get Martin O’Neill’s Villa team into the Champions League and I don’t recall it helping getting Villa promoted in the past couple of seasons.
So, when it comes to the League Cup, let’s try and progress as far as possible and take a few scalps along the way.
4. Lucky Charm
Judging by the game against Yeovil, new Villa keeper André Moreira is blessed with incredible good fortune. Surely with him in squad, Villa will have enough luck to get promoted this season?!
5. McGinn Better Than Disco Lights
I was reading some pundit bemoaning Celtic’s lack of summer spending and saying how it had contributed to them getting knocked out of the Champions League. The pundit mentioned something that tickled MOMS.
Villa obviously picked up one of Celtic’s targets, John McGinn, for a reported £2.75m. With that in mind, the pundit (Pat Kevin) mentioned that in comparison, Celtic had spent £2m on ‘disco lights’ at Celtic Park for Champions League nights, instead of investing players in players to actually qualify for such occasions.
So, it seems for their £2m or so, Villa certainly pipped Celtic in terms of value for money.
Although, having said that, I do look forward to the day when Villa are chucking £2m on disco lights to jazz up Villa Park for European nights!