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Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Aston Villa: Can Villa expect to pick up points against Chelsea and Liverpool?

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It’s fair to say no-one was expecting that opening result – we were all hoping for a better start, but to beat Arsenal 3-1 away from home was something special. The last time we enjoyed a similar opening win was beating Man Utd 3-1 in 1995 – but even that was at Villa Park!

Much has been said about this young Villa side over the summer and a lot was made of how the opening few games could affect the rest of the season. Playing three top-four hopefuls in the opening three games was an extremely tough draw, but it couldn’t have started any better.

The key now is for the team to push on and not look back.

Villa celebrate v arsenalHaving already gained more points after one game this season than after three last year it would be easy to get carried away. Without trying to be too pessimistic, Chelsea at home tonight is likely to be a completely different game. The Blues looked as hungry and powerful as ever against Hull City and with Jose back in the driving seat it will be a few more games before the pure power of his return wears off.

But there’s no reason why Villa can’t pick up a point.

Before last year’s brutal 8-0 drubbing at Stamford Bridge, Villa had actually picked up a few good results against Chelsea. We were even seen as their bogey team at one point and that was because we never seemed to give up, even when going behind.

The same happened at Arsenal on Saturday and to come back the way we did showed fantastic heart, belief and patience.

It would have been highly unlikely to see Villa come back from such an early goal last season so it was a great statement from this young side, showing the rest of the league this could be a very different campaign.

No-one’s getting carried away after one game – apart from at Arsenal where it’s been quite amazing to see how much pressure their team has been put under already – but picking up three points should give Villa confidence going into the next two games.

Chelsea’s midfield looks frightening this year and it will be a very tough task trying to nullify that threat. It’s pretty much impossible really so the best we can do is defend as best as we can and try to hit them on the break. Chelsea should be ready for that, but the question is will they be able to stop us? It’s quite a bold statement considering how good their team is, but they will be wary of that threat.

Liverpool will be the first team to visit Villa Park this year and that should be another good game. The visitors are under a lot more pressure this season with Brendan Rogers having been given a full year to stamp his authority on the team. The majority of the fans believe in him – much like Lambert at Villa – but they will want to start seeing some results early.

It will perhaps be more difficult for Villa to pick up points at home than it will away. That may sound strange but Villa’s style has suited a counter-attacking system since the Martin O’Neill days.

Lambert will hopefully manage to get his own footballing philosophy through to the players – when he first agreed to join Villa the fans were very hopeful the side would start playing more attractive football. It was certainly better last year but with the team looking so weak no-one could really enjoy it – it was very nerve-wracking at times.

However, with the team a season older and wiser, and with a few new signings adding a nice mixture of continental flair to the squad, maybe Villa fans will start seeing some flowing football at home, rather than just quick counter-attacking football.

It’s nice to watch quick football but it’s been a few years since we were able to confidentially break a team down. Liverpool aren’t that much better than Villa on paper so the first home game could help us actually see where we really are, especially after two tough away games.

Would another two to four points be wishful thinking? The later probably is but we may as well dream while we can.

Article by James Fisher

Calling all Villa fans: What has Saturday's victory over Arsenal done to your confidence levels for the season ahead? Can Villa record back-to-back victories in the capital? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.

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