When Paul Lambert released the squad numbers for Aston Villa last season, we were able to read a lot into the high numbers given to the members of the now-dissolved "bomb squad." Now that we have this season's list, it's apparent that we can't be quite as strident in finding news in a list of numbers. But that won't stop me from trying! Here's the hot takes from this year's list!
Darren Bent snubbed again!
Last season we heard tell that Darren Bent was quite upset to have not been given the number 9 kit. But it was understandable, as that was Nicklas Helenius' number, and he was going to be a star.
Fast forward a year and we now know that if Helenius was a star he was a brown dwarf. So now he's back at Aalborg on loan and surely Bent, the returning hero, can reclaim his favorite number. But no he cannot. The number 9 kit will be held sacrosanct, in the hopes that a proper number 9 can come along and save Villa from itself. And Bent will have to live with the 19 kit.
Darren Bent given a place of honor!
Another way to look at it is that Darren Bent is getting a very special number. 19 was unavailable last season as a tribute to Stiliyan Petrov, but it's Bent's now. That, frankly, seems like an odd choice. At a time when you have so little for fans to care about, why not keep the 19 kit free from anyone. It's a nice gesture and a smart economic decision, as plenty of people would still get 19 - PETROV kits printed up. They probably still will. Darren Bent is the Rodney Dangerfield of this club.
Where is Samir Carruthers?
No, seriously. Where is he? Yesterday we heard that MK Dons were looking to buy Carruthers and today he isn't on the squad number list. His number 25 from last season remains vacant. Coincidence? Very likely! But also pretty likely it's not.
Update: He's gone!
Andi Weimann: playmaker
The number 10 kit is usually reserved for the team's playmaker. The person who will marshal the attack and make things happen. If that's the case with Aston Villa, expect an anemic and gun-shy attack, since Andi has number 10. It's not that I think the Austrian Predator is bad, but I sure don't look to him for creativity.
Squad number don't mean anything!
There's a symbolic side of this, to be sure. But really all of the hot takes in the world don't tell us a thing. The only thing that's going to matter is what team Paul Lambert puts on the pitch. And if you think that's the first eleven players on that list, well then Villa fans should be ready to be disappointed.