by Kris Rasmussen
Last season was all about consolidation and staying in the Premier League. At the time, Villa were walking a thin line between staying in the promised land and slipping into the abyss of the Championship. Nerves were frayed, but ultimately it was mission complete.
To keep track of Villa’s progress in fighting relegation during the season we invented the ‘Rasmussen diagram‘, which tracked the point accumulation as the season progressed and measured it up against the expected progress needed for survival. Admittedly there was a doom and gloom feel about the diagram – but that only reflected Villa’s predicament.
This season however, things are certainly looking rosier. Dean Smith’s lockdown period rethink that saved last season, backed up with some astute signings in the summer, have provided a springboard to a bright start to the 2020/21 season. At this moment – eight games in – it seems that the season will be much more about challenging for a more positive upper-table position.
With one of the most successful Villa transfer windows in a very long time, Villa’s first XI at least, looks stronger than it has done in the last decade or so. Villa may not yet be quite at the place where they want to be squad-wise, but there is an air of positivity back at the club which has been missing since – at least – the O’Neill era.
Current Form Comparison
So just to bask in the sun for a moment and enjoy our current form, here’s a look at how our season so far stacks up against the previous.
The fixtures compare as follows:
Last season: Spurs, Bournemouth, Everton, Crystal Palace, West Ham, Arsenal, Burnley, Norwich
This season: Sheffield U, Fulham, Liverpool, Leicester, Leeds, Southampton, Arsenal, Brighton
Not too dissimilar fixture difficulty, would you say? But the outcome… Big difference.
Despite the recent three home losses in succession, Villa are seven points up on their start of last season.
The dotted line indicates the linear projection of points accumulation this season, with the way things are going at the moment, and it indicates that Villa will end up with over 70 points, if they can keep it up. That may be a lot to ask – but why not?
Another interesting observation is that it took Villa until game 19 to get past the points tally they’re at now. That’s half a season.
Villa Merch 15% Savings
For this season we’ve added a new chart, which will track Villas progress by comparing the results this season to the results from the identical fixture last season. A throw back to a former My Old Man Said stats segment from over six years ago, The Villa Fiver.
It is essentially a score card with a par for the course, and we will update the chart as we go along.
Obviously, the relegated sides have been replaced in the chart with the recent promoted sides.
For now, the conclusion is rather astonishing. 15 points from eight games where we got 7 points last year against the same opposition.
In conclusion it has to be said that this is early days – but eight games is still over a fifth of a season. In all statistics, the amount of samples is paramount and we only have eight games to look at. However, Villans can look to the rest of the season with optimism.
Considering the hard times that Villa supporters have gone through – let’s begin to enjoy the ride.
This is the first article in a planned series for the season which will be looking at how we do in comparison with the nail biting previous season. It will be focused on the numbers in the season and on the bigger picture in the general.