Aston Villa and the almost inevitable that follows

Villa beat Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup. Dave Woodhall anticipates more to come.

As Del said to Rodney when they finally became millionaires, we’ve had worse days. Jack Grealish signs a new contract (more, of course, on that later) and two big signings inch closer to completion. With a routine outing at Little Burton Albion to come, the outlook was as promising as today’s unseasonally warm weather.

And there wasn’t a single Villa supporter who would have been surprised at the scoreline after two minutes. Apparently standing in front of the keeper isn’t interfering with play, and we were a goal down. At least we did dominate after that but it took until five minutes before half-time to get back level, when Jack Grealish split the Burton defence with a ball that enabled Neil Taylor to lay on the easiest of chances for Ollie Watkins.

For me the most significant thing about the goal wasn’t Grealish’s approach work, or Taylor’s pass, or even Watkins being in the right place, it was our record signing casually tapping the ball home then picking it out of the net with little celebration and an attitude that said, “No big deal. This is what I do. It’s my job.” And long may he do it.

Watkins could have had another goal straight after that one, but the ball seemed to bobble as he hit it, he was off-balance and it hit the bar. In the end Villa had to wait until the closing stages of the game before Henri Lansbury’s corner was volleyed home by our new contract signer and Keinan Davis scored what will hopefully be a massive confidence booster in stoppage time.

Three-one was about right on the balance of play and chances Villa had. It was always going to be an awkward evening, with no more than three or four of the team guaranteed to start when the important stuff begins on Monday night. The team did look like they were still in pre-season friendly mode at the beginning but they soon snapped out of that mindset and could have scored more than they did.

The advantages, apart from the obvious ones, were that Davis looked good in his twenty minutes, Jacob Ramsey wasn’t overawed on his starting debut (the first by a Villa player born this century – dear God, where do the years go?) and Jota didn’t seem too bad during his brief appearance. We need a bit more strength in depth but it’s getting there.

But of course, the biggest news of the day was Jack’s five year contract. He gets a pay rise, a few pundits will be forgetting what they’ve been saying for months and while it still wouldn’t stop him from moving if he wanted, what it does send out is the signal that Villa mean business. No matter how much extra he’ll be getting paid, there’s no way Jack would have signed if he hadn’t been given some cast-iron guarantees that the club being run like a shambles and the team constantly struggling are a things of the past.

Get Traore and Martinez signed up tomorrow, Rashica to follow and being greedy another midfielder, then roll on 2020-21. After all, look what happened the last time Jack Grealish volleyed home from a corner.