The Cost and Concerns of Winning
After a poor end to last season, it was always in Aston Villa’s interest to get wins on the board as quickly as possible, to change both the narrative and feeling around the club. After cheaply throwing away the opener against Bournemouth, winning the first Villa Park match of the season brought relief, after the team laboured over beating a distinctly average looking Everton team.
Villa were largely in control of the game, but they’ll be concerns over how they closed the game out. Fortunate at times shined on Villa, as they narrowly avoided throwing away a 2-0 lead. After last season’s experiences against the likes of Wolves and Leeds United at Villa Park, the fight shown to hang-on to the three points will be seen as a big positive though, especially in terms of team morale.
The injury to Diego Carlos in the dying seconds of the game is a massive blow, as he’ll now be out for most of the season. The Brazilian centre-back was bought in to play a major role this season, so financially speaking, a big chunk of his £26m transfer fee has been lost.
Still, it is hoped that such an injury to one player won’t define Villa’s season.
Yes, to challenge for the top eight, Villa will potentially need a decent central midfielder and any other upgrades would be welcome, but realistically time is running out with just two weeks of the transfer window left. With a rising wage bill and squad size, Villa are likely to be cautious when it comes to any further business.
With many Villa players possessing so much upside from their average showings last season, there’s still scope for vast improvement within the team, and the presence of Boubacar Kamara in midfield will certainly help certain sections of the team.
The spark that ultimately got Villa over the line against Everton, was very much Emi Buendia, who replaced an injured and ineffective Philippe Coutinho. The Argentine still hasn’t really been given a sustained period as a starter the to prove himself, but could he be the key to unlock the potential of Villa’s attack?
There’s been a lot of Buendia and/or Coutinho debate recently and Steven Gerrard was quick to shoot down a journalist in the post-Everton press conference, who implied that he was showing unnecessary favouritism towards his former teammate Coutinho in sidelining Buendia.
Gerrard revealed that Buendia hadn’t been 100% due to a knock he picked up in his final pre-season game.
“He was winning the race for a starting slot and he got a muscle injury in a behind-closed-doors against Fulham,” confirmed Gerrard.
“He missed close to a week and his training performance was slightly off from where he was prior to the injury, so we’ve been patient with him and haven’t felt the need to risk him.”
Gerrard went on to say that Buendia will certainly start games this season for Villa.
“We put him on when the team needed energy and quality and he delivered. Nobody’s a bigger fan than Emi Buendia than me.”
In the latest My Old Man Said podcast, which Buendia appears on the cover on as a genie coming off the bench to grant Gerrard’s wishes (see below), we look at the Argentine’s impact, the situation with the loss of Carlos and insights we made from the Everton game.
We also look at the Buendia and Coutinho dilemma and assess Kamara’s home debut.
Plus, there’s the latest Villa news, Three Points and Media Muppets to get stuck into too.
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David Michael – @oldmansaid
Chris Budd – @BUDD_music
Phillip Shaw – @prsgame
Dan Rodgers – @avfc_vilr