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.
Fulham for me just brings back those bad memories from the 2018 play off final. Previous to 2018 I had no ill feeling towards Fulham at all. In fact, it’s a great away day by the Thames, but I can’t now see them on TV without thinking about that horrible day.
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.