Two games into a season isn’t a huge sample size with which to make sweeping judgments about a team, but I’m going to anyway!
Two matches played with two losses is the record next to Aston Villa’s name in the Premier League table. And while that record is certainly not ideal, it doesn’t take into account the spirit and determination shown by the players attempting to keep constant Tottenham attacks at bay, or the bravado to try and mount a comeback win against Bournemouth.
The vast majority of supporters have agreed that there have been positives from the performances in these two games, mainly comprising of the first-half against Tottenham and the second-half against Bournemouth.
However, it’s only natural for some to think of the club’s previous Premier League campaign (the 15/16 season), which also involved the bedding-in of many new players and wonder whether we’re in for a repeat? I’ll answer this question with an emphatic no.
Aston Villa now have a coaching team and ownership structure that’s in sync, enthused and well-informed. The squad is one full of hunger and desire who are all excited to wear the claret and blue shirt. Each signing this summer has been made on the back of plenty of extensive research done by the scouting department. Additions to the squad were also made quickly enough so the bulk of the new players had at least several weeks training with their new teammates before the season rolled out. Every decision made by the club in the summer seemed measured, and it’s refreshing to see.
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The previous Premier League campaign of 15/16 actually started off better in terms of results, as Villa earned three points on the board going into their 3rd fixture. A big difference between then and now though is the bulk of the current squad will still be on a high after achieving promotion in the last campaign and the hope would be that the good feeling around the club can continue this season. The make up of the 15/16 squad was a mixture of new signings (such as Jordan Ayew, Jordan Amavi, Rudy Gestede, Micah Richards and Jordan Veretout) and experienced campaigners past their best (Gabriel Agbonlahor, Kieran Richardson, Brad Guzan and Charles N’Zogbia) who never experienced anything like the winning habit picked up last season. It wasn’t likely to be smooth sailing, and it certainly wasn’t as everyone now knows how that season panned out. The unprofessional antics of some of the aforementioned experienced players (Agbonlahor was stripped of the captaincy due to his behavior off the field, Joleon Lescott tweeted a picture of an expensive car right after a heavy loss to Liverpool) made a mockery of the club that they’re only now recovering from.
As much as I think this will be a tough season, the positives of last season and the hard work of the players and management team will ensure that the mistakes of yesteryear will be avoided.
Throw all your support behind these players because these are a group that actually deserve the fan’s support.