Strongest Premier League start for 8 years, the first Villa win I've seen live since 2009 and a strong deadline day signing to compliment a strengthened squad. I'm well chuffed this week! And we really should enjoy it, because the next few weeks could be very tough.
Much focus of the Villa chat this week will be on the signing of Tom Cleverley and Fabian Delph's England exploits. But let's have a look at the bit that actually matters, Villa out on the pitch. What was it that defined Villa's game against Hull City?
Andreas Weimann and Gabby Agbonlahor made a mockery of my suggestion to drop them in home games, as the two goal scorers and best players on the pitch. Perhaps I should refrain from such predictions in the future! The reason they were so effective is that Hull afforded them space to play, but also because they found in abundance the decision making and finesse they usually lack.
In particular, I'd like to commend the performance of Andreas Weimann. In contrast to the Newcastle game - in which he was poor throughout and his decision making left a lot to be desired.
The first goal came from a mistake on the left side of the box, as N'Zogbia intercepted a poor knock back from Jelavic. His run inside found Weimann in an excellent position. A clever flick into Agbonlahor's feet was the right decision. He continued his run, which put doubt in the defender's mind about the one-two and afforded Agbonlahor the space to turn and expertly finish.*
Moment of the game
The second goal came from Weimann putting Dawson under pressure after a light pass back from the woeful Huddlestone. Dawson passed straight to Delph, who exchanged neatly with Agbonlahor and on to Richardson in a crossing position. In this time, Weimann had taken up a typical poacher's position in middle of the box. None of the Hull center halves following him certainly helped, but he got into a position that our strikers too often fail to find in the absence of Benteke. When the ball came to him he realised that he had space and time, didn't snatch at it. With 3 players blocking the line the only place he could put it was the bottom right corner and found it with aplomb using his left foot.
Villa played a very strong tactical game against Hull in the first half. Richardson and Agbonlahor made good decisions in the final third, while the midfield didn't overcommit and put the defence under pressure. But it was Weimann's tenacity, intelligent movement and composure that personified everything the team did well. We will have to see more of the same from the Villa attack if we are to win our share of home games this season.
*Sadly due to new Premier League rules I am unable to illustrate with GIFs, but if you're able to access Match Of The Day 2 on iPlayer skip to the 39th minute to see what I'm talking about. You can also find a bonus highlight reel of Jack Grealish getting booted into the stands by Hull!