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What does Xia's reaction to Luton defeat mean for Villa?

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

It didn't take long for Tony Xia to sound like any other Villa fan after Wednesday's embarrassing 3-1 defeat to Luton Town in the EFL trophy.

The implication seems to be that the Luton match was being treated as a chance to check the back-up options and those who put in disappointing performances might be on the way out.

But how does that fit in with Roberto Di Matteo's statements and the news from the club so far this season?

This was the starting line-up for the Luton match:

Of those only Mark Bunn and André Green are obviously not first-team choices. Jordan Ayew and Ross McCormack are our top strikers and Tshibola, Gardner and Grealish are meant to be in the core midfield. The defence is harder to judge - Tommy Elphick was on the bench and only one of Nathan Baker or Jores Okore would join him. Most fans would like to see Micah Richards and Jordan Amavi be the starting full-backs but it depends on form and injuries.

So who's at risk?

Focusing on the starting line-up might be a distraction as the real collapse came after half-time as our own Alexander Carson pointed out, with the introduction of Alan Hutton at right-back and the shift of Richards to centre-back. Rudy Gestede also replaced McCormack as the latter is eased back to fitness.

Hutton and Richards came in for a lot of criticism after the match, although so did Amavi and the own-goal scorer Okore. There was also a clear weakness in centre-midfield with Gary Gardner and Aaron Tshibola struggling as a duo, while Rudy Gestede faded.

Xia's words don't fit with the signals from Villa Park

So a post-game assessment suggests Hutton, Richards, Gardner and Gestede are at risk with Okore, Tshibola and Amavi needing to do more to work their way into the first-team.

But here's the problem - all the signals are those players are firmly part of Di Matteo's plans. The same day of the match the BBC reported Richards would be staying while Joleon Lescott will leave. There has been no pursuit of a new right-back to replace Hutton/Richards as first-choice.

Elsewhere Carlos Sanchez, Villa's defensive midfield specialist has just left for Fiorentina. There have been strong rumours Joe Bennett at left-back and Jordan Veretout, another centre-mid option, are also set to leave. So if Gardner, Tshibola and Amavi do struggle, there's not much competition for their places.

So Xia's words put Roberto Di Matteo in a difficult position. Villa fans will be angry and disappointed to see many of those players in the starting XI in future games but there might be no other choices.

This game could  and maybe should cause a rethink - certainly here at 7500toHolte we've been pretty vocal about the need for an improvement at right-back and Bennett and Veretout might need to unpack their bags.

But decisions based on the owner's Tweets about one game in a fairly meaningless trophy is a dangerous way to go - and Xia might regret getting Villa fans' hopes up if there are no major changes before the transfer window closes.