From one extreme to the other. After securing their forceps maintenance last season at the expense of a Bournemouth just one point behind, Aston Villa should not have the same scares. Indeed, the Birmingham-based team have had an almost perfect start to the season. With the mid-season approaching, the Villans are the surprise guests in the first quarter of the standings. A provisional 5th place, just 3 points from 2nd, Leicester and its 2 more games, far from being stolen. And this thanks to a solidity against the members of the Big Six.
The proof again this Monday against Chelsea for the 16th day. Although led a goal to zero, the team of Dean Smith managed to come back in the match to bring back a point from Stamford Bridge (1-1). A good performance far from isolated. Since the Villans exploded Liverpool (7-2), snatched a victory against Leicester (1-0) and controlled Arsenal (3-0) at the start of the season. There is still Manchester United and Tottenham to play, who are also their next two opponents, as well as Manchester City. Which places them as serious candidates for European places according to the English media.
Recruits at the level
“Another positive result against a team of the ‘Big Six’ which leaves them fully in the running for a European place”, Write the Mirror in his match summary. “They must surely be taken seriously like the first six, even the four best contenders”, even outbid le Telegraph. In any case, Aston Villa and its second best defense in the Premier League (14 goals conceded), behind that of Manchester City, can believe it. An iron defense of which Emiliano Martinez is the last bulwark. Purchased from Arsenal this summer, the Argentine goalkeeper is present. He thus managed to keep his clean sheet 8 times in 14 games, an elite record this season.
But the goalkeeper is not the only satisfaction of the summer transfer window. The Birmingham team went to find Ollie Watkins in Brentford, for 31 million euros. An investment for the moment very profitable since the 24-year-old striker is the club’s top scorer in the league with his 6 goals. A little more in difficulty lately, the official scorer is well assisted by a Bertrand Traoré author of his first 2 goals in the last 3 matches, and an Anwar El-Ghazi scorer 5 times in his last 5 outings. Among the rookies, Ross Barkley has also made a good place in the workforce of Dean Smith. The player loaned by Chelsea even managed to offer the victory to his team against Leicester.
A collective full of confidence, led by Jack Grealish
“This is only our second season in the Premier League. You have to build up gradually. We had 13 new players last season, and only five this year. They settled in quickly ”, told the BBC a Dean Smith surely delighted by the chemistry created in this team but who refuses to talk about Europe. This team, which has been well prepared, shows responsiveness and manages to find new solutions match after match. Enough to feed “Momentum and confidence” players.
A workforce brimming with energy, according to his manager, led by his star and captain: Jack Grealish. The England international is the technical touch of the Villans, the club’s champagne player through whom all actions pass. With his high-sounding individual statistics (5 goals and 6 assists), the attacking midfielder reaches its full potential in this system tailored for him. At the origin of almost every dangerous action of his own, he is the main asset of this team. And that the big clubs of the championship understood it and did not hesitate to show their interest. Keeping him, despite an extension signed last September, will therefore be one of the club’s biggest challenges. With that of confirming this idyllic first part of the season.