After our encouraging start to season 2020-21, Villa fans are most likely split between heady optimism and Midlands-style weary cynicism before our game with Fulham this Monday.
Regardless where your mindset falls, matching Sheffield United for toughness whilst maintaining discipline and looking dangerous throughout was certainly a vast improvement on last seasons often lightweight efforts.
Our second string then looked imperious at times during our League Cup tie with Bristol City, suggesting Dean Smith’s work in building a culture of excellence at Villa Park is beginning to bear fruit. The performances of Davis and Traore in particular will have been noted by their opposite numbers in the first team.
A debut goal is a thing of beauty. It unites fans, teammates and the new player in a common delight rarely experienced elsewhere. After all, there are few walks of life where it’s possible to get off to such a prominent start in your new job.
So when news filtered through (most of us weren’t watching) of Bertrand Traore’s wonder strike at Ashton Gate, there was a particular delight that we might have something special on our hands for season 2020-21.
For true football fans, great matches and great players act like milestones in our lives. Whereas the non-football populace will talk wistfully about their kids first day at school, for us it’ll be a promotion, tournament win or great player we once had. With this in mind, many Villa fans would have taken a moment of reflection when we heard Gareth Barry had finally retired.