Villa must build on the positives

VERDICT By Phil Jennings

CONCERNING? Yes? Worrying? No. That seems to be the story of Villa’s mixed up start to the season.

For every bright, encouraging sign, there seems to be a head-in-hand moment.

And the one thing Villa are not right now is a 90 minute team.

That is the sort of problem that could be comfortably corrected in the Championship – not so in the Premier League.

An impressive hour at Tottenham was wiped out by Spurs’ undoubted class in the opening game.

And as for a so-called easier meeting against Bournemouth on Saturday, they simply do not happen at this level.

This was the opposite of what we saw at Tottenham. At Villa Park, it was the shakiest of starts that proved too much for Dean Smith’s side to overcome.

There is an upside to this of course. Yes, it is two defeats in a row. But the indications are there that Villa can turn this around.

You can only hope that they are getting their mistakes out of the way early.

Because it is no good dominating for long periods and getting nothing for your efforts.

Smith said at the start of the season that Villa would take the game to their opponents, no matter what their status.

Is it time to temper that way of thinking? Maybe a more cautious approach could pay dividends, especially with Everton in town this week.

Or is now the moment to reflect on the huge positives to come out of both of Villa’s opening games.

Certainly, John McGinn has taken to the Premier League in a way most people hoped he would.

And while skipper Jack Grealish admitted on Match of the Day that he has made mistakes, statistics from the Bournemouth game showed he created more chances than another other Premier League player on Saturday.

Tom Heaton was in fine form in the opening game but the keeper gave away a needless penalty to provide the platform for Bournemouth’s victory.

It was difficult to know whether to be happy or sad at Douglas Luiz’s contribution on his full debut.

His mistake for Bournemouth’s second goal was a huge error – but his goal later in the game was pure brilliance. You suspect that we will see more of the latter this season.

There are other areas worth questioning. Smith has chosen to stick with last season’s full-backs in Ahmed Elmohamady and Neil Taylor for starters, despite an encouraging pre-season for new signings Freddie Guilbert and Matt Targett.

You get the feeling that might change soon, with Ezri Konsa another candidate.

The defensive partnership between Tyrone Mings and Bjorn Engels is another plus point. But Wesley needs to become more of a threat soon up front – a £22million fee means goals are a basic requirement.

Villa have shown enough to suggest they will not struggle this season, a win will be needed soon though.

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