Obvious positives, obvious negatives. That is fast becoming the narrative of Villa’s early season as their penchant for turning stable positions into desperately disappointing results escalated to new levels on Sunday. After a hard-fought point at Crystal Palace turned into a loss and a relatively comfortable home win over Sunderland became just a draw, Villa turned their 2-0 lead at Leicester City into a 3-2 defeat with almost impressive expertise.
Here’s a look at the Good, Bad and Ugly from the King Power Stadium.
For 65 minutes – right up until the moment Carles Gil passed the ball into the top corner from 25 yards – Villa were far and away the better side, taking the game to Leicester and having the better of the chances. Gil was superb on his first Premier League start since February, taking players on, threading passes through and generally playing the part of our chief creative fulcrum.
It has always been apparent – when he has been allowed on the pitch, at least – that the Spaniard is one of the most technically-gifted players at the club, and the way he floated across the pitch pulling the strings from midfield on Sunday exemplified that.
The other real highlight of the match, other than the sheer quality of Villa’s two finishes, was Jack Grealish getting his first goal for his boyhood club. The 20-year-old had missed a straightforward chance earlier in the first half before he buried a superb strike through a crowd of players from the edge of the box, and you always thought that personal milestone for Jack could lead to something special.
Grealish has the attributes to become a 10-goal-a-season midfielder if he can improve that aspect of his game – it wouldn’t do to start expecting that of him straight away, but the quality of his goal should give him even more confidence and belief in his own ability in that department.
In defence, meanwhile, Joleon Lescott and Micah Richards look a pretty decent central defensive combination. Picking up Lescott at £1m-2m should prove to be a snip; admittedly only in his first appearance for the club, he looked far more composed and assured than Ciaran Clark or the perpetually-absent Jores Okore. Admittedly it was his questionable play which ultimately led to Villa conceding the first from the corner, but he was otherwise one of the most solid players on the pitch throughout his debut.
If Christian Benteke was our chief weapon last season, Agbonlahor is the gun loaded with blanks that we now rely on as an attempted deterrent, hoping that nobody will realise that it is effectively useless.
Check out next page for the Bad & Ugly of Villa this week…