After Friday night’s disappointing defeat to Leeds United, Aston Villa’s impressive 100% winning start to the Premier League season was brought to an end in fairly emphatic fashion. What matters now is what Villa do next and how they react to that disappointment.
Iain Dowie once popularised a term when discussing a crucial component of his promotion chasing Crystal Palace team; “bouncebackability”. Simply put, to achieve success, a team needs to show the ability to react positively to any setbacks.
This Friday Aston Villa clash with Leeds United for the first time since the infamous meeting of Marcelo Bielsa and Dean Smith’s squads last year. Given the utter calamity that ensued at Elland Road it is only fitting that we set our minds back and remember the anarchy in preparation for this Friday.
Finally the transfer window has closed after a long summer of anticipation. Ending the season in such dramatic circumstances left major questions to be asked of our squad and with wealthy owners there was no real reason not to answer said questions. Despite a slow start it seems we’ve done a fair amount of business this window so I have taken it upon myself to weigh up our transfers and evaluate the quality of the work.
For the first time in two decades, Villa have opened a Premier League campaign with consecutive wins, keeping two clean sheets in the process. Considering it took us 8 games to reach the same points total last season, the bright start has been enough to start spreading the belief amongst the fans that we might well be in for a much more positive season.
Whilst the victories have come against a Sheffield United team who have yet to find last season’s levels and a Fulham side who already look a little hapless, especially defensively, it’s still been enjoyable watching us play with greater confidence and even a little swagger. Nevertheless, the visit of defending champions Liverpool will be the real litmus test as to just how much we’ve progressed.
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.