Well, that’s the first week of life in the Championship over and done with. It’s safe to say that it was an eventful one, although perhaps the events didn’t quite unfold the way we wanted them to. It was a week in which Villa had a tough away game on the opening day against Sheffield Wednesday that resulted in a loss, despite an encouraging second half performance. We also watched the Villa slump miserably out of the EFL Cup with defeat to Luton Town. For those who thought otherwise, this week has shown that this season is definitely going to be a challenging battle that will require a lot of fight.
It wouldn’t be fair to say, despite the two early defeats, that there has been no light at the end of the tunnel for Aston Villa this week. Firstly, we saw the arrival of £12 million man Ross McCormack. The transfer is one that shows the new regime is in place and in full swing. With the signing of McCormack, we’ve got ourselves a proven Championship player, who is a fantastic addition to any team at this level. Although the Scotland international didn’t have much of a pre-season, he was deemed fit enough to start against Sheffield Wednesday and it was a game in which he had one or two bright moments, suggesting that once he reaches full match fitness we’ll have a definite attacking threat in our ranks.
The twenty-nine-year-old also looks to be the much needed solution to Villa’s set piece woes. Finally, we’re able to put a dangerous looking ball into the box from a corner!
As well as the arrival of McCormack, B6 has been rumoured to be the destination of a bunch of other players.
Just today, James Chester has arrived from West Bromwich Albion to bolster our fragile defence.
If reporters are to be believed, the defence will go from strength to strength with the potential addition of Ritchie De Laet. The signing of the Belgian would aim to solve the many issues we’ve been having at right back.
As well as De Laet, journalists are also stating that Roberto Di Matteo is interested in bringing in the Crystal Palace midfield duo of Mile Jedinak and Joe Ledley. If the manager pulls these deals off it will really strengthen weak areas of our side.
Despite the fact that we lost our opening league game of the season in Sheffield on Sunday, there were still a lot of positives to take from that game. It’s important not to forget that Sheffield Wednesday is one of the most established sides in the division. The away fixture against last term’s play-off final runners-up will be one of the hardest matches the team will face over the course of the 2016-17 season yet the Villa boys held their own for most of the ninety minutes. The boys in claret and blue even posed a goal threat at times in the second half. If we play like we did that day all season long, I’m in no doubt we’ll be one of the toughest sides opposition clubs will face.
The positive performance against Sheffield Wednesday was, sadly, followed up with what was a pretty pathetic display at Kenilworth Road on Wednesday evening. Quite frankly, I don’t know where to begin discussing this match and I’m not entirely sure I want to. Let’s just agree it was shambolic and that a lot of work needs to be done with the team to ensure something similar doesn’t happen again any time soon.
The biggest issue I had with the loss to Luton Town was that the players still seem to be playing with the same, losing, mentality of last season. After we conceded for the first time, it was like watching a repeat from the 2015-16 season. We conceded, players’ heads dropped and we went on to concede two more before the Villans came to terms with the fact they’d conceded the first one. This is a major issue that Di Matteo needs to address quickly in order to establish a new, positive ethos.
In the ahead week, fans will see Aston Villa play two times at home. The games coming thick and fast is one of the highlights of Championship football that the fans will certainly enjoy. Hopefully, in at least one of the two upcoming matches, we’ll finally get to witness our side’s first competitive win for six months.
In the meantime, we’ll just have to look to Dr. Xia’s ever entertaining Twitter account to give us some Villa based enjoyment.