Season 2021/2022, Back from the Break – Some Lessons Learned

As predicted, our Villans put on an impressive performance at Stamford Bridge, especially considering the absence of two of our stars: Emiliano Martinez in goal and Emi Buendia, our recent signing from Norwich, as both were mired in a South American COVID-19 mess.  That it resulted in a 3-0 loss to Chelsea is unfortunate, especially since the score in no way reflects what transpired on the field.  Most independent observers agreed that the Villa controlled most of the first half, created far more chances and should not have been behind at the break.

The Blues converted their only opportunity and shot on goal in the 15th minute with Lukaku making the most of a brilliant pass from Kovacic.  Meanwhile, Ollie Watkins alone, had Mendy make a brilliant save and, with Mendy beaten, Thiago Silva block another certain goal for our claret and blues.  Coming onto the field for the second half it appeared likely that we would surely nick one with John McGinn causing mayhem with his pressure and pinpoint corners.  Then, our captain, Tyrone Mings, let his concentration slip for a second and Kovacic seized the opportunity to intercept a back pass to goalie Jed Steer and, with a cheeky chip, the game was effectively lost in the 49th minute to a team that has yet to give up a goal in open play this season.

The team and Villa fans knew that only a superb performance, zero errors and a little bit of luck would be required to bring something back to Brum.  At least we had the performance, but we made one error, had no good fortune and, even, a referee who appeared to care more about the fans than being balanced. 

Around the Premier League, it was a case of the rich getting richer.  Man U. picked up Ronaldo (for a second stint) and he delivered a brace and three points against Newcastle, while Liverpool overwhelmed Leeds and Man City dominated Leicester, leaving the four elite clubs (adding Chelsea) to compete for the top spot.

How about Everton who are currently in the mix?  Notwithstanding the brilliance of Rafa Benitez, they too will falter, likely as early as this Saturday. Sure, Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend have seen their skills and careers resurrected by the Spanish magician, and James Rodriguez may be available, but our Villans showed too many positives against Chelsea to falter at home.

Count on Ollie to get on the scoresheet and Buendia and Martinez to make a difference. UTV!