Villa’s Silly Mistakes Need To Be Cut Out In Quest For Premier League Survival

Heart of the Holte reflect on Aston Villa's first two games back in the Premier League, with both ending in defeat due to avoidable errors.

Ryan Pitcher

Sorry for opening up with an old cliché, but if you make a mistake at this level then you’re going to get punished for it, and that’s pretty much been the story of Villa’s opening two fixtures since our reintegration into top-flight football.

From Jack’s dawdling at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to last Saturday’s rush of blood by Tom Heaton and a Douglas Luiz step-over when we ought to be clearing our lines. This latter showing hurt a lot more than the opening day as it is games such as Bournemouth at home where we’ve a good opportunity to put some points on the board – and yet within 15 minutes we were significantly handicapped by our own silly errors.

Lesser the mistakes and our performances haven’t been too bad.


We had our foot on the ball aplenty against the Cherries and had spells where we moved the ball about reasonably nicely without really creating many clear-cut chances – despite having 22 shots at goal (seven on target).

For me personally, we’re just looking too predictable. Halt McGinn and Grealish and then you’ll stop the Villa from playing.

The burden of responsibility is very much in the middle of the park right now and we’ve not seen enough from our wide areas as yet – and that’s where we will need to be working the ball to if we’re going to be a genuine threat in the box where poor Wesley has been starved of any service.

The Football Manager geeks among us have already been discussing a possible change of shape; something that we touched upon on the Heart of the Holte podcast post Bournemouth.

I’d like to see us move to a 3-5-2 with wing-backs. When under pressure we can revert to a solid 5-3-2 and when in transition switch it up to a 3-5-2 thus crowding the middle, providing natural width whilst also providing support to Wesley. I just think we’d be better suited doing this.

This Friday night we play host to the blue half of Merseyside and – it goes without saying – I’m expecting a difficult game.

With nine clean sheets in their last 13 Premier League games (including the first two this term) then they’re likely going to be difficult to break down.


Offensively Everton may not score many, something that they’ve found difficult throughout pre-season and in their opening matches, but they do possess the quality to rid those shackles. This will be a stern test for us.

Without meaning to come across as pessimistic but if you offered me a point now then I’d take it. We just need to focus on getting something on the board before the early international break and, once we’ve accomplished that, I’m sure our confidence levels will increase, and we can kick-start from then on in.

My score prediction: 1-1 with Wesley to silence his early critics.


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