With one win in four matches, Aston Villa have had a mixed start to life back in the Premier League with early mistakes, a catastrophic refereeing error and complacency resulting in Dean Smith’s side not picking up any points in three of their four opening fixtures. With a Monday night game against West Ham United on the horizon, the Villa faithful need to get behind the boys in claret and blue, and Head Coach Dean Smith. Positivity needs to be the predominant emotion in order for us to thrive as a football club going forward.
Cast your mind back - It’s Tuesday 2nd October, 2018. Glenn Whelan’s 97th minute missed penalty meant that Aston Villa had to settle for a point after a 3-3 draw against Preston North End, a match in what turned out to be Steve Bruce’s last game in charge as manager.
Eight days later the club appointed Brentford boss Dean Smith as Villa’s Head Coach with the Villains sitting twelfth in the Championship table. The challenge for Smith was to promote this sleeping giant, a club that Dean had supported since he was a young boy, into the Premier League - a challenge that he successfully completed.
With only two wins in his first five games as Villa boss, Dean Smith didn’t get off to the best of starts, however over the coming months he would begin to implement his counter-attacking, exciting style of play, one of the main factors in why Smith was appointed after two years of Steve Bruce. Jack Grealish proved to be the missing piece of the puzzle after returning from injury in March as Aston Villa went on to win 10 games in a row, a club record, as well as gaining promotion to the Premier League after beating Derby County 2-1 in the Play-Off final. Smith’s attacking system proved to be exciting as well as productive with the club’s goal of gaining promotion being achieved a year before planned. So after guiding the Villans back to the promised land surely Dean Smith should be given this season for himself and his side to adjust to the Premier League?
Over the Summer transfer window Aston Villa spent over £100 million with a total of 12 players brought into the club, eight of them either started or came on as substitutes during the opening game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur. This is a massive and risky operation being undertaken by the Midlands side with Dean Smith effectively starting the season with a new team which is why he needs time. No one expects immediate results in the Premier League as the new players do need time to adjust to the playing style as well as time to spend building relationships with their new team members.
The Premier League has proven to be a harsh league with its ruthless and unforgiving nature costing Smith’s side points. In order to be successful in England’s top division your side needs to develop a clinical edge as well as a strong defensive structure. With Engels and Mings commanding the centre of defence, Villa have acquired a powerful back duo and with the forward line, Wesley has improved game after game with the Brazilian striker now consistently holding the ball up well and successfully bringing his attacking team mates into the game as well as contributing with a goal against Everton. Unlike the previous management regimes, there is a positive environment around Aston Villa with players fighting for their places and the Villa faithful have finally been gifted with Premier League football after three years following the Championship game. The Villains have not had the best of starts but the future looks bright.
In Deano we trust!