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Friday Feedback: Which Aston Villa Team Is For Real?

We've seen both sides of Aston Villa this season: the great and the miserable. Today we answer: which Villa team is for real?

Jamie McDonald

Aston Villa have been an amazingly mercurial team this year. They've played stellar football in the League Cup, and had brilliant moments in the EPL. But then they've also lost 4-1 to Southampton and given up (maybe understandably) five goals to Manchester City. That brings us to this week's question:

We've seen a lot of up, and a lot of down from Aston Villa this season. In reality, are they the club that just clobbered Norwich, or the one that got trounced by Manchester City a few weeks ago?

As always, you'll find our below and we hope that you can give us yours in the comments.

Also, be sure to stay tuned for a very special Friday Feedback next week. It's going to be a ton of fun.

Matt: I don't think they're either of those options to be honest. I think they're somewhere in between. They're probably leaning more toward the team that beat Norwich, just because the Man City result was so absurd. But this team, as of right now, can't pull off 4-1 wins like that every week. Most teams don't beat the Norwich's of the world every single match in a season. So I'm more than happy with this team being somewhere in the middle.

Gareth: Aston Villa are a very young team, the youngest the club fielded in years. We hear that over and over, usually in lamentations about their lack of experience/confidence/battle-readiness. I think part of being a young team means that they are a bit unpredictable. A lot of their performance seems contingent on the situation. They've been able to get themselves up for big games (Norwich and Manchester City in the Cup and the first half against Manchester United) but they've also been guilty of playing down to their opponent or giving up too easily. I trust that these issues will iron themselves out in time, and hopefully the potential they've shown in their big victories starts to appear more regularly in the second half of the season. [Robert's note: Gareth wrote a piece that's totally unrelated to football, but is a great read nevertheless. I just wanted to make sure even more people got to see it. It's about Canadian culture, and was published in Somersault Magazine. You can find it here.]

Aaron: It sounds like a bit of a cop-out answer, but that's never stopped me before! I think they're both, and neither. As Gareth points out, this is a young team, and as you'd expect with young teams they're going to be a bit more prone to swings in one direction or the other. Remember, that game against City was pretty competitive up until the joke of a penalty, and Norwich looked every bit as likely to find a winner as Villa until Villa went ahead fairly late in the going. When their confidence is rattled they're more prone to collapse (the Manchester United game for one example) and when they're riding high they feed off of that confidence. This team has shown us that they're capable of some absolutely gorgeous play and as they mature and got more comfortable with one another I think we'll start to see it more and more often. But in the near term, I don't think there's much reason to expect the rollercoaster nature of things to go away entirely. I'm just hoping it smooths out a bit.

Kirsten: I think it's going to keep being up and down, and I'm ok with that (provided we aren't too close to the relegation zone). I like seeing these kids develop, and if that means sometimes we take a couple hits, well, it will be worth it in the end. Besides, who wants to be a Barcelona fan? Where's the fun in that?

Andrew: I think they have a really inspiring big-scalp type win left in them in league play. I think they'll play down to the competition at times. Paul Lambert is forging a togetherness that takes time to completely set. There might be additions in January that will set that process back and at the same time hopefully add some of the missing ingredients to climb up the table away from that dreadful bottom section. So yeah, I think we all agree: it's going to be frustrating and also thrilling. Seems to me like the fans are behind it almost to a person and that's great to see. Things are looking up.

Robert: Like everyone else, I think they are somewhere in the middle. But I'll say they're definitely actually closer to being the team that beat Manchester City and crushed the spirits of Norwich City fans everywhere this week. They've got youth, speed, determination, and a better ability to move the ball than any Villa team I've ever seen. If Paul Lambert sticks with the quasi-3-5-2 that he's been using lately, I think they have the potential to become not only a good team, but a great team with an identity all their own. At the very least, I think relegation-fearing days are behind us, and we're in for some very entertaining football.