…After firing blanks against the Scousers
1. Three points from ‘those’ opening three fixtures is fine. Lambert stated in his post-Liverpool interview, that he would have taken that, if it was offered to him at the start of the season. Nobody would have expected that Villa would not have a minus goal difference after the first three games either. From the corresponding fixtures last season, Villa had a -10 goal difference. That’s a big improvement.
Also, Villa have been top of the league three times already in the first week of the season…after the Arsenal game, when we kicked-off against Chelsea and when Benteke scored the equaliser. Okay, that’s clutching at straws, but it’s still good to get a taste of being at the summit of the league.
2. Five Villa players made their Villa Park debuts. So, we’ll never quite know how Bacuna got the sponsor’s man-of-the-match, but Okore looked solid considering his lack of pre-season and Luna looked the real deal. At times, he was the only Villa player to get behind Liverpool’s disciplined defensive set-up, with his runs down the line. Helenius and Tonev also made some impact in fashioning chances in their brief cameos.
3. Villa were always in the game and created chances against a solid and well-drilled opponent. The final ball was lacking at times and there’s need for more movement and creation from the midfield in the attacking half of the pitch, but there’s been games in recent years when Villa have hardly registered a shot in similar games, leading to a real dour and frustrating 90 minutes for supporters. Once the new boys settle in and who knows, an attacking midfielder signs before the transfer window closes to answer our prayers (don’t hold your breath), then Villa will only get better. Also, Liverpool have one of the best defences in the league.
It’s nice to see the club have made an effort putting up big pictures of famous Villa quotes over the years to spruce up Witton Lane. Brian Little, Dennis Mortimer, Ian Taylor, Brian Moore (Peter Withe Euro winner), Tom Hanks, Stan Petrov and Ron Saunders are all present. Don’t quite know what Tom Hanks is doing there, that’s more marketing than celebrating Villa’s history. Still, more such attention to improving the surrounding area of the stadium will lead to a much better experience for all supporters attending matches. The club has the money and it’s time to direct some of it to the enhancing supporter’s enjoyment at games. More of the same, please.
5. The food fair was in Birmingham city centre, so there was varied international cuisine and a German-style beer tent to distract you from the post-match sorrows of losing against the scouse. Sometimes a hearty meal helps take your mind off things. Mmmm, paella and bigos.
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