Villa Big Picture Progress
It what was an end-to-end game at times at the London Stadium, Unai Emery’s evolution of Aston Villa’s play and approach to games showed a lot more positive progress than was witnessed a week earlier at Villa Park against Crystal Palace.
But for an extremely soft penalty, Villa would have had a third consecutive clean sheet to go with their 59% possession in the away game. Admittedly, West Ham went into the game with the third lowest possession tally in the Premier League, but it would have been encouraging for Emery to see his team comfortable and progressive in possession.
The active contribution of John McGinn in a deeper more central midfield role, to cover the absent Boubacar Kamara, was pleasing, after he had struggled in a similar role under previous Villa managers.
Ollie Watkins did go decidedly close to bag Villa a second against the Hammers and perhaps the three points, but at least his game opener took his tally to nine for the season. If the Villa striker nets one more, he’ll be the first Villa player to get to double figures in three consecutive seasons since Christian Benteke.
When you zoom out, there were plenty of positives to feed into the improving bigger picture. Also, the sight of the returning Diego Carlos on the bench, was a further boost.
With seven games to play in April, Villa would certainly appreciate the match squad getting closer to full strength on the other side of the international break. With both Boubcar Kamara and Philippe Coutinho likely to be back in early April, it’ll certainly fire them up to try and reign in the points advantage the likes of Brighton, Brentford and Fulham currently hold over them.
In the latest episode of the My Old Man Said podcast, we look at the visible progress of Unai Emery’s long-term plan and the aforementioned difference of John McGinn under the new Villa manager, along with many other positive manifestations within the team.
Also, we look at the latest Media Muppet activity trying to sell off Emi Martinez in order to get an ‘upgrade’ in, while catching up with the latest Three Points and Villa News.
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