I hope everyone is still riding the high from Saturday's match. That was certainly one of the more entertaining two hours of soccer I've watched in a while. It's fun to watch Villa without your heart in your throat, isn't it? Well, for our links today, we've got some match wrap-up to get to, and a word from Jean Makoun on his future at Aston Villa.
- Despite rumors that Jean Makoun may be headed for Greek club Olympiakos, the Cameroon international has expressed his desire to break into the Villa starting XI. The fact that Makoun has not seen the pitch yet this season is perhaps the biggest complaint I have in regards to Alex McLeish. And given their picks for the ideal Aston Villa XI, it's safe to say the writers and commenters here agree. It'd be nearly criminal to let one of the team's best playmakers just disappear on loan while giving starts to Stiliyan Petrov every week.
- Mat Kendrick hits with his usual trio of match recap. You can find his main story here, and his match grades here, but what I really found interesting was his moment of the match. He chooses the reception that Alex McLeish got from the Villa Park crowd, which I think says a lot about the fact that most fans are just happy to have football back. The summer brought endless stories about how unhappy Villa fans were with the hiring of McLeish, and I had a sneaking suspicion that in fact it was just a belligerently vocal minority. I'm worried about confirmation bias, but given the reception he's gotten (from away crowds at friendlies and Fulham, and from the crowd on Saturday), I think my initial impression was correct.
- The Express and Star have a few quotes from Alex Mcleish post-match, in which he tries to hold back fan enthusiasm. And he's right to do so. The team have gotten 66% of the available points, but 3 of those came from Blackburn. This isn't a team with relegation fears, but let's wait a couple weeks to get foaming-at-the-mouth excited.
- Finally, in case you hadn't noticed, Fabian Delph has played two entire consecutive matches. I thought that was great, but apparently it's unheard of. Mat Kendrick informs us that in his entire time at Villa, Delph has never completed two matches in a row. Apparently that new fitness program is working, but I hope he gets tomorrow off for the Carling Cup match.
Be sure to stick around, as the next couple of days will see a preview and gamethread for the Hereford match, and Slaky has hinted at a forthcoming piece as well. Should be lots of good reading.