It wasn’t always this way. Waking up on a matchday without a sense of dread or anxiety about how Aston Villa might concoct a way to dampen one’s weekend. Things are very different of late thankfully. Splendid.
Perhaps it’s also the lifting of a collective shared delusion that the likes of a Tonev, Drinkwater, Tshibola or even a Lansbury might be our footballing saviours. Whatever this sweeping change of fortunes might be, it’s certainly welcome.
Whilst Villa have some way to go to be breakers of the ‘big 6’, victory over Burnley felt almost routine. It wasn’t a stroll by any means, but this was a composed, calm and decisive win on the road. For any Villa fan with a length of memory, it’s not something to be taken lightly.
Away victories at difficult venues such as Turf Moor should not be underestimated for their value in our season either. A disappointing defeat would have been considered poor. A point would still be regarded as reasonable. However, if we can take all 3 points on the road consistently, it turns a club from a middling Premier League side to one that can compete at the top end of the division. Enticing stuff.Embed from Getty Images
This was a game that saw Matty Cash redeployed further up the pitch. The former Nottingham Forest man grabbed his opportunity with both hands, striking twice to stun our hosts. It stunned most Villa supporters too.
Yes, there was a momentary sense of the real Aston Villa unmasking itself just after the break. The Burnley goal was a classic example of a home side acting upon their halftime team talk (bollocking). It was a case-study of exactly the levels of concentration we need to improve upon.
Where things are glaringly different was encapsulated in the team’s response to Burnley getting a foothold in the game. The Villa of old would have plunged like the Titanic, inevitably faltering into a shipwreck of a performance. This revamped Villa side, simply reset and went about its business securing all three points. Emery looked on, vocal, as our puppet master.
Digne, a standout performer so far this campaign, fed another delightful assist to Diaby. The Frenchman stroked a precision finish beyond the helpless ‘keeper. Diaby looks to be a remarkable proposition based on his contributions already.Embed from Getty Images
Burnley enjoyed periods of pressure, they were ok, but Villa are a different beast now. McGinn, Kamara and Luiz were quite at ease in midfield. All of the danger was mitigated by the sense that Villa could and would strike on the counter at a moment’s notice.
It’s now back-to-back wins in the league after drubbing Everton, sandwiched between dishing out a whipping to Hibernian that sent Lee Johnson packing. The opening day disaster at Newcastle is an increasingly distant (painful) memory, but one which appears to have been learned from.
Up next, is the 2nd leg against Hibs in the Europa Conference League, before a testing away fixture at Anfield next Sunday. Anxiety? What anxiety?