Efter en svag insats mot Manchester City är det dags för mästarna Liverpool att ladda om, det vankas hemmamatch mot ett Aston Villa, som verkligen kämpar för sin överlevnad i Premier League. Guy Poxon(@GuyPoxon) skriver om Villa på Under a gaslit lamp och berättar här om hur han ser på lagets situation.
1. Premier League has restarted after the corona break, how has it been to watch these first games?
It’s been quite strange watching games with fake sounds or no crowd noise at all. I think it reaffirms the fact that football is less enjoyable without the fans. At Villa Park, the fans are brilliant and you can’t recreate that matchday feel with any audio trickery. I’m sure the fans are missing matchday pies!
2. How has Villa´s form been since the restart?
We havent picked up a win yet and that says a lot. But in truth, even the most cynical villa fan would agree that we were unlucky not to win at least one of our previous matches. If you look at our expected goals created versus expected goals conceded, we arguably could have won against sheffield, chelsea, or newcastle. This is a big improvement on our form before the break, but we all know that Villa are in massive trouble and you can’t rely on luck – you have to make your own luck. We will have to keep improving as our run of fixtures now is really difficult. What’s more, is that star man Grealish is yet to get back to his best. If he’s firing and the rest of the squad can put in a good performance then we will have a chance. McGginn’s return is also good news, but we need a bit more from the Scott as he’s failed to stamp his authority on games since coming back to fitness.
3. Villa is fighting against relegation, how do you rate your chances of staying up?
Honestly, we’re in massive trouble. I think we’re more likely than not to go down. However, I also think we have been hard done by this season – we have more than our fair share of awful VAR decisions, far more injuries than most and just downright rotten luck sometimes. But the squad has to take some of the blame for the individual errors which have cost us dearly this season. For Villa to stay up, we need to move up another gear – we absolutely need Mings, McGinn and Grealish to really drag the squad up a notch.
4. You signed a lot of players before the season started, which of the new signings have impressed you the most? Any disappointments?
As a whole, our signings were very hit and miss. Mostly miss! To be fair, Wesley and Tom Heaton made an impact before their untimely injuries (both rupturing ACLs in the same game! Would you believe our luck). Douglas Luis has looked incredibly assured in recent weeks, 100% a Premier League player and he will be a star one day. I would say that Mings has been largely brilliant, albeit with a few dodgy patches over the season, and the same for Freddie Guilbert who has given Villa an outlet on the right while sometimes leaving us vulnerable at the back. Matt Targett is now also injured at left back, which is a shame as he is very productive for us. However, Jota, Trezeguet, Nakamba all need to improve if they’re to make anything of their careers. If I’m honest, I don’t think we were in a great coming up into this league. We had too many loan signings from the previous regime and that meant we had to spend a lot on many players, rather than adding real quality to the squad.
5. There are many rumors about Jack Grealish future? Do you think he is good enough to play in a team at the top of the table? Where do you think he will be next season?
Jack Grealish is a joy to watch. Any team would be lucky to have him! I think he will leave Villa, and while I hope that’s maybe a few years down the line I can’t see us keeping him if we go down. He deserves an England call up and he won’t get that playing for us in the Championship.
6. How has been Villa´s player of the season?
Jack Grealish – no contest
7. What kind of game do you expect against Liverpool?
Congratulations to Liverpool! You have been fabulous to watch and I’m personally very pleased to see you putting Man City’s noses out of joint. They have really dented the integrity of football, along with United, by accelerating the importance of money in the game and it’s a shame to see that. As for the game, I suspect Liverpool will be flying high again and win this one comfortably. That being said, Villa sometimes like a trip to Anfield and we did give you a scare at Villa Park!