The less said about the defeat at Luton Town the better, but fans can take pride in the performance and result in the season’s home opener. What did the 33,000+ fans at Villa Park and others around the world learn from the win over Rotherham?
TONY LOVES IT
Dr X continued his flamboyant relationship with Villa fans, milking their applause as he walked onto the field and bowed before the Holte End. Compared to the secretive, mute, never-there Randy Lerner, the new owner is cheese to Lerner’s chalk.
His tweets still make him prone to saying too much, and critics will say some things are better left unsaid until they are confirmed (or kept behind closed doors – like the tweet about Agbonlahor requesting a meeting with Dr X and RDM) – but his openness is proving a welcome change and if anyone doubted he is a real Villa fan, he certainly is looking like one now.
GESTEDE LOVES IT
… “A good cross” that is. In the games at Sheffield Wednesday and Luton, Gestede was easy to miss due to a lack of service to the forehead that saw him rip it up with Blackburn last time he was in this division. His guided header from Cissokkho (Cissokkho! In for Amavi!) sent a message right away and his tidy chip-poke, after one arguably the best move of the game, showed he can do it in a Villa shirt – given a little assist-ance.
BACUNA LOVES IT
Realising one swallow does not make a summer, Bacuna’s performance at right-back on Saturday might lead management to reassess their new player priorities. Often criticised for being out of position when playing in the back line under Lambert (who bought him as a long-term project, then started him after one game), he looked the part against Rotherham and might keep former-fan favourite Alan Hutton on the bench for some time.
He also loves bants with fans, as the current video doing the rounds on social media appears to prove, to mixed reviews (“he’s a ledge” / “this is exactly what we don’t want to see from our players”).
GREALISH LOVES IT
On this evidence, Grealish can be the most exciting player at Villa Park in some time. If a Man United player had scored that goal, etc etc. The fact is we haven’t seen a player do what Grealish did (yes, the first defender fell over, but still) since the more glorious times in the Premiership under John Gregory. Fans will hope he can turn it on like that more regularly and perhaps put his shirt among the best sellers this Christmas.
And it’s well worth mentioning the clean sheet thanks in no small part to Chester and Elphick. When the soft goals at the back are stopped, the likes of Jack and Ayew can run riot with more confidence.
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