Five Reason to be Cheerful as Villans
Aston Villa are currently in 15th place in the Premier League table, just two points off the relegation zone and have recently had to make a managerial change – not exactly the ‘continual improvement’ they had hoped for this season. For the second season in a row Villa have started poorly and lost their manager before Christmas, so it seems a fitting time to relaunch the ‘Five Reasons to be Cheerful as a Villa Fan’ column.
By Armen Mirzoian
So, lets begin…
1. It’s nearly Christmas…and there’s a Winter World Cup
While it would be nice to fully get into the flow of Unai Emery’s reign as Villa’s Head Coach, a six-week break due to the Qatar World Cup is probably very welcome for the new Villa head coach.
It will also benefit the team club in several other ways too: It significantly lowers the number of games that Diego Carlos will miss due to his injury (he’s expected back in January), while it help players like Digne and Kamara to fully recuperate.
Furthermore, much like the Covid pause saved our Premier League status, this break could also give our battered club a chance to regroup and dust ourselves down for the (hopefully improved) second half of the season. Another benefit is that our poor form has resulted in fewer players popping over to Qatar, which is ideal for Emery, who will undoubtedly appreciate valuable coaching time with them.
2. Strong Squad
This is, without question, the strongest side Villa have had since their final sixth place finish under Martin O’Neill. Without resorting to listing each player and position, suffice to say Villa have players that can comfortably finish in the top half if coached and motivated correctly. There are areas of weakness and imbalance, but the wins against Brentford and Manchester United should remind us that this is a good squad and a superb base for a tactician like Emery to build on.
3. Owner Intent
Despite recent murmurings among fans about their reduced interest in the club, Villa’s owners are here for the long haul. These owners are not here to mess around and they are not tightening up the purse strings like uncle Randy did a decade ago, that indicated a lessening of interest. Their planned stadium expansion and renovation of our club crest shows that they are planning far into the future and their ruthlessness in removing Smith & Gerrard demonstrates that they demand progress and are still determined to get the club back into Europe.
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4. Shonky Premier League?
Villa have played 14 games so far and you can count on one hand how many of Villa’s opponents this season have actually shown any promise. As dreadful as Villa have been so far, I would argue that Palace, Arsenal, Fulham, The Saudi Toons and Man City (though they had an off-day) have been the only sides that were better than Villa on the day. The rest have been poor and those include Manchester United. West Ham, Everton, Bournemouth, Southampton, Leeds, Forest, Chelsea and Brentford. Simply put, there are a lot of poor Premier League sides this season. If Emery can get the most out of this squad, then Villa are more than capable of finishing at least 10th this season, which would be a decent result given where we are and how we have been playing.
5. New Calibre of Player
Despite all of his faults, Gerrard did some good in attracting a new calibre of player to the club. Players such as Coutinho, Digne, Kamara and Carlos help with our standing among agents and future targets. Thankfully, we have lost none of that with the appointment of Emery and the club’s pull is arguably even stronger under his watch.