Aston Villa beat Bournemouth over the weekend, and while it wasn’t Villa’s best performance, Villa still came away as the victors in the game. Winning a game while playing poorly is always a good sign, especially while Villa’s team is still gelling.
From the new boys, it became very clear that our defensive back line has been heavily improved with the arrival of Micah Richards and Jordan Amavi. During pre-season I thought that perhaps Richards was better suited for the right-back role and would struggle in the centre of defense. I was wrong, badly wrong. Richards and Clark played very well together, Richards (who is quick) had good positioning awareness and used his experience well to get the better of Bournemouth’s attack. His performance was recognised and was placed in BBC’s team of the week. Ciaran Clark was his usual self, provided lots of clearances and last ditch tackles as usual. Amavi was incredibly impressive, his energy is superb and his pace means that he can afford to support the attack as he can always make it back in time. I think it’s fair to say that Sherwood has finally found the perfect left-back since Bouma and Warnock.
Rudy Gestede made an instant impression. All throughout last season, zero of Villa’s substitutes scored while coming off the bench. Gestede ensured that statistic wouldn’t repeat itself. Gestede showed great movement and held the ball up well. His headed goal was top class and pundits compared him to Alan Shearer. He might not be exactly like Benteke, but Gestede did show that he is capable of scoring in the Premier League and will pose a threat in the air for Villa.
It also became clear that the likes of Jordan Ayew and Veretout will need time to develop in the Premier League. It might be harsh to make judgments right now (especially to Ayew who didn’t necessarily get much service) but I think that those two players will need some time. Both are young, and Ayew showed great energy and moments of creativity. Whilst Veretout could’ve been more adventurous in attack. Still I’m not too concerned right now.
There were only two things that concerned me or I was confused about. I didn’t understand why Bacuna was selected as right-back. I don’t think that’s his best position and after playing all pre-season in midfield, I thought that Bacuna would be upgraded to midfield (where I think he’d be more of a threat). Bacuna’s positioning is sometimes poor and isn’t always aware of who he should be marking. Whilst Hutton might not be as big of an attacking threat as Bacuna, I think that Hutton is more defensively solid and for a right-back, he is quite attacking as well. My other concern is that Agbonlahor isn’t much of a threat. He had two moments of brilliance, his cut back pass was good and managed to find Gana (Gueye) and when he runs at defenders he can be a threat. But I don’t see Agbonlahor as our attacking solution, not yet anyway. He could prove me wrong, and I sure hope so.