Three draws in a week? It takes me back to the days of Alex McLeish…
When the Championship fixtures were made for the 2018/19, Aston Villa looked to have a soft start to the season, providing them with a good platform to build confidence and lay down a marker, early doors. In these recent three drawn games, they’ve played two of them at home, a team bottom of the table and one down to 10 men for over 50 minutes.
It’s early days yet and Villa are currently 4th in the league, so it’s not exactly panic stations, but Leeds and Middlesbrough already have four points on Villa after five games and this is while Villa have had moderate level opponents and three of their five games at home.
That said, there has been signs of Villa improving their attacking play, what needs to happen to provide a real end product is for Villa to have a striker who concentrates his efforts on the opponents box. At times, Kodjia comes too deep or wide to get the ball. Should Villa’s DM push higher up, so the rest of the midfield can push up to support? At the moment, the DM tends to stand on the toes of the centre backs.
If Villa can sort out the movement of the midfield when attacking and the positioning of the striker, then the new loan signings of Anwar El Ghazi and Yannick Bolasie could transform Villa going forward.
As we’ve seen before, having the players is one thing, but we also need a method.
Here’s five reasons to be cheerful in the meantime…
For large periods of the game Villa looked good going forward, especially in the Brentford and Reading games. You get the feeling that finally with the new recruits (see below), that this direction of improvement will only get better and Villa will pose an attacking threat against most teams. Bruceball hopefully seems to be transforming….finally.
After his debut, Orjan Nyland wasn’t going to get any worse, but his display against Reading was a sign of hope after his mistakes had cost Villa points in previous games.
Of course, a keeper should be making saves, that’s standard, but his double save against Reading was above and beyond the call of duty. Those were two stops in quick succession that looked odds-on goals.
Beyond his shot stopping, the main thing that impressed MOMS against Reading was his distribution, that helped Villa build and break from the back at times. His quickness of thought surely make it a case for common sense, that Villa should leave a player up on the half-way line, as an out ball, when defending corners?
Anwar El Ghazi’s debut against Reading gave you the same warm feeling inside, as when you watched John McGinn for the first time. In short, Villa have bagged a decent signing.
El Ghazi had the strength and technique to win 50-50 contests with the fullback and displayed the vision and pace to be constructive when Villa went forward. There’s surely goals and assists coming from the Dutch talent this season.
MOMS’ Dutch buddy, who heads up a major Ajax supporter group gave us some positive feedback (see article below), which seems to be playing out already.
Looking at the league table Middlesbrough are currently looking good in the automatic spots, especially after a late win against WBA. They had been in the box seat to get the loan signature of Everton’s Yannick Bolasie, which would have made them an even bigger threat to Villa’s aim of promotion.
On Saturday, Bolasie was finally announced as a Villa player for the rest of the season, which surely was a blow to our promotion rival and maybe an early victory against a team who will be in the reckoning come the end of the season.
It was good to see the new majority owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris back in the country to see their first Villa match at Villa Park (read about MOMS earlier meeting with them) and get a feel for the place on match day.
There visit suggests they maybe over to lock in a CEO appointment, which is of mounting experience to get Villa moving forward.
In the Villa programme notes, the duo reinforced the hope they could lead Villa to better times and that their recent transfer activity despite FFP restrictions had provided early proof of that.
“We feel our experience and expertise across business and sport can complement these efforts to help deliver success on and off the pitch.
Alongside the results on the pitch we hope that the club’s transfer strategy in recent weeks has given the supporters cause for optimism.
We believe they represent another signal of intent and demonstrate our ambitions for the club.”
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