Aston Villa and the great expectations

Dave Woodhall watches as Villa win at Southampton.

Sometimes I think Villa supporters are our own worst enemies. Maybe it’s because we’re so used to things going wrong, and we’ve fail to build on our achievements so often, but we don’t half like lookinh on the bleak side.

Saturday’s trip to Southampton was a case in point. They’re bottom of the league, we’re moving up nicely – not exactly setting the world on fire but we’re putting a run together and we’re doing particularly well away from home. We should have been looking at three points as a matter of routine rather than thinking that our opponents had finally won in their last match. Never mind what they can do; let them worry about us.

The team was much as expected, although we had two keepers on the bench, which is probably just as well if one of them’s Robin Olsen. Ollie Watkins had to put himself about and try not to get injured because there was nobody to take his place.

Villa had a bright start and missed a couple of chances before Southampton got the ball in the net although it was clearly offside. Jacob Ramsey then had a chance saved when he was off balance and Leon Bailey should have done much better with the rebound. Ramsey should have had a penalty when he was brought down just inside the box before Drone Stopped Play for ten minutes. Some publicity-seeking clown with a YouTube channel seemed to say he was behind it, and whether he was or not, there’s one place the thing should have been stuck.

With an hour gone Southampton got the ball into the net again, and although this one was tighter there was absolutely, no doubt at all that VAR got it correct, Quite why Douglas Luiz got booked when he was in the right I’ve no idea, but best not to complain too much about that one.

Villa had most of the possession and it was looking that if there was to be a winner there would only be a single goal in the match. Luiz put over a good cross, Watkins timed his run perfectly, Villa were in the lead. Thirteen minutes to go,which was plenty of time for Emiliano Martinez to pull off his regular miracle save. There’s surely no better keeper in the league at the moment. There might not be a better one in the world. And while we’re on the subject, I’ve seen a few Villa players developing from good to world-class over the years. Boubacar Kamara is on his way to becoming another one, and we should be building the team around him.

Villa tend not to do scintillating football under Unai Emery, at least not yet. It may well come in time but for the moment, we first had to make ourselves difficult to best, which is happening, and then expect to win, which will come. We’ve seen enough teams come to Villa Park and take the points as a matter of routine. Now we’re starting to do it back. Get used to it.