My heavens that was an invigorating win on Saturday. I walked around all day with a dopey grin on my face that no one around me really understood. It's been a while since Villa made me feel that way. Let's get right into this Monday's edition of Kickin' It, where you'll find everything you need to start your week off right.
Just The Facts, Please
Form (Last 5, most recent first): W W L L L
Results Last Week: Aston Villa 0-4 Tottenham Hotspurs (League Cup), Aston Villa 3-2 Manchester City (EPL)
- First Team:
at Hull City (EPL) - Saturday, October 5, 1500 GMT, 1000 Eastern
Tracking Villa's Progress
A look at how Aston Villa are doing compared to corresponding fixtures from last season. For a more full explanation of the corresponding fixtures table, see here.
|∆ Scored||∆ Allowed||∆ Points|
It's not been perfect - there was, after all the Newcastle loss - but if you compare the six fixtures that Aston Villa have begun their season with with the corresponding ones from last year, Villa look vastly better. In these six last year, Aston Villa were outscored 16-5. This year? They've outscored their opponents 9-8. And things look better when you shift the view to this year and realize that they've gotten half of their matches against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City out of the way already. I know it's been frustrating, but there's already marked improvement over last year.
This picture is rosy if you'd rather look at dates instead of corresponding fixtures, as pointed out by Tyler Damme on twitter:
One quick note: on Saturday Villa visit Hull City. Since the club is a newly promoted one - and thus comparisons between this fixture and one last year are impossible - I randomly assigned the three new clubs to the three relegated clubs from last year. This is, I think, the weakest point of the corresponding fixture table, but there's not much to be done for it. So for the sake of this little project, Hull City are taking the place of Wigan. Last year's visit to Wigan was a 2-2 draw on the last day of the season, so a point or better would be great.
New Injuries Last Week:
- Andi Weimann - some sort of knock
Aston Villa 0-4 Tottenham (League Cup)
Jermain Defoe (45’, 90'), Paulinho (49’), Nacer Chadil (86’)
- I know Villa were playing with an injury-riddled squad and that Paul Lambert said that the Cup was less of a priority than league play. But dear god this was a terrible match. The way the team played it almost reminded me of those dark days last season that began with the 8-0 loss at Chelsea.
- That said, it's not really that disheartening to have the club out of the League Cup. Sure it's likely the best path to Europe, but now Villa can have a bit more time to rest some injured players and can focus on League play. Plus, maybe this will mean the club put a bit more effort into the FA Cup.
- But yeah, let's not talk about this match. It wasn't a first-choice squad, and it was quickly erased from our memories by the Manchester City win.
- Alright, one last thing. I know I should be outraged because this wasn't given a penalty. But really, in light of the final score, there's no point in being angry, and instead we can all laugh at one of the best pants-ings we've seen in ages:
The fact that he still took the shot is amazing.
- You can find our recap here.
- First impression: WOOOOOOOO!!!!
- Second impression: there's absolutely no way that Aston Villa should have won this. They were outplayed, their first goal was clearly offside, and Manchester City had 21 shots.
- Third impression: Woooooo!!! Also: Hahahahahahaa.
- It's hard for me to offer too much analysis on this. Villa's defense - except on corners - took the bend-but-don't-break approach. Paul Lambert's plan of playing three center backs seemed to work pretty well, actually. The five midfielder approach? Pretty ineffective. Without Ashley Westwood, this midfield looks absolutely lost when it comes to passing.
- But sometimes the breaks just fall your way. Villa were never going to be the team that would be expected to beat the upper echelon of the league this year. They were, however, expected to be the team that could put themselves into the right position to win those matches if everything worked out. This weekend, everything just seemed to work out and Villa took advantage of it. That's what we can expect this season, I think. A team that should win games against the bottom third of the league, should draw or win against the middle third, and should at least be competitive against the top third. Compared to last year, I'll take that.
- Favorite goal? Definitely Weimann's winner. Mostly because I love his celebration before the ball even crossed the line.
- You can find our recap here.
- The WhoScored recap is here. If you go to the player ratings page, you'll see one of my favorite things ever: the "A" for assist net to Brad Guzan's name.
- The visit to Hull City may not be as easy as is usually anticipated with newly promoted teams. The Tigers have not given up full points at home in three chances this season, nabbing two wins and one draw. They currently sit 7th in the table with a -1 goal differential. Their best win thus far is probably the 2-3 victory at Newcastle.
- In that match, Hull came back twice, from 1-0 and 2-1 to pick up the win. Sound familiar?
- That said, I think Hull are playing a bit above their heads. And, I know this is weird, I feel more comfortable about Villa on the road than I would if this match were at Villa Park. Steve Bruce has done well with the Tigers thus far, but I think Villa can put a damper on his early season happiness.
Kevin Hughes has become one of my favorite writers about Villa. And this has to be - in terms of writing and information passed on - one of his worst pieces. But do you know what? It's probably my favorite he's written, because you really get the sense that he's just a fan who is every bit as ecstatic about the win as every one of us was. Thanks, Kevin. This was fun to read.
Roker Report have been doing a fantastic job of covering the manager search that Sunderland are undergoing right now. If you want to get up-to-date on it, check out their story stream.
The wrap here isn't bad, but I just want everyone else to experience the first headline that's made me genuinely chuckle in a while.
Thanks, as always, for reading. Check in every weekday for the latest edition of Kickin' It. Be sure to join us in the comments, where anything goes!