There can’t be an Aston Villa fan on the planet who isn’t still on a high following our victory over Liverpool at the weekend. An Ollie Watkins hat-trick, Jack Grealish’s brace and further efforts from Ross Barkley and John McGinn kept our 100% Premier League record going for the 2020/21 campaign and we all know the score should’ve been higher than the 7-2 it became.
Including last season we are seven PL games unbeaten and it’s the first time we’ve started a top flight campaign with three wins on the spin since 1962/63. For Jack, he took a slice of PL history himself, becoming the first player to have a hand in five goals in a single match.
Plenty to celebrate, plenty to get carried away with after last season’s late ‘great escape’ and the club have recently wheeled both ‘Supers’ out for quick interviews as they reflect on the mental 90 minutes we saw on Sunday.
Beginning firstly with Jack (simply because that page is open in my browser), he knew the squad had to love it, take all the confidence we could moving forward – but definitely not get carried away.
“It’s crazy. The champions from last season who are obviously still a brilliant side. We’ve just started the season absolutely on fire, we’ve been unbeaten now, if you include last season, for a fair few games. And I think everyone is just sky-high on confidence. We’ve brought in some absolutely brilliant players, credit to the manager for bringing them in. We’re on fire at the moment and it’s one of those where you don’t want the games to stop, really. I think the international break has come at a bad time for us.”
“It was unbelievable, when you think about it. A few times, in the second half especially, when we went 6-2, 7-2 up, we were saying ‘what’s going on?’ while we were celebrating. We couldn’t really believe it. It’s not really sunk in. We can enjoy it for the next few days but then it’s time to focus on the next game because it’s a long season.”
As for McGinn, it was definitely his finest match back since recovering from his injury and making his own adjustment to the top flight across last season, and he was singing from the same hymnsheet.
“It’s a bit surreal. We got a fair slice of luck but I don’t think anyone can say that we didn’t deserve to win the game. To a man, we are brilliant. We’re not going to get carried away. It’s been an amazing start and we’re delighted.”
With Watkins getting himself up and running with a perfect hat-trick to register his own debut top flight goals, McGinn knew there would be more to come now he’s up and running.
“He was a bit frustrated, he wanted to get his first goal in the Premier League. It was a perfect hat-trick and it tops off what has been a great start for him. It maybe suited us; we have got pace with Jack, Trez and Ollie and if you can get behind Liverpool’s press, you can cause them trouble.”
The future certainly looks brighter than the last decade and a bit has but the stars aligned for us on Sunday and we showed exactly what we are capable of. Now we have to show that consistently and when the pointless international break is over, if there was any element of Leicester coming into this complacent, they certainly won’t be now, so we can’t take that result or performance for granted.
Nice to be hopeful for the future again though…it’s been a long time coming.