With the season all but done now, how’s your team done - expectations for next season?
I think the fact that Villa finishing 11th feels a minor disappointment shows how far we’ve come. The start of the season was absolutely magical and even though Europe was never likely, the fact we could dream of it slightly was a great feeling. The Co-Vid outbreak really took the wind out of the sails, and the second half of the season has been inconsistent at best, not least helped by Grealish missing three months. Think it’s oddly a positive though that we can look at how many points we’ve lost from winning positions - at least we’re competing unlike previously where we would be turned over constantly.
Next season, I think a top half finish would again be a positive, even if it’s not a European place. The team needs to ensure this season wasn’t a fluke but luckily it looks like we’ve got a good spine and I can’t see any first team players going. Rumours of quite a large transfer budget being in place for summer, but I’d rather we focused more on getting good solid back up players - having the likes of Neil Taylor, Ahmed Elmohamady, Nakamba, Wesley as the first choice reserves isn’t particularly inspiring. I think that’s what we’d go for - Smith is quite reluctant to break up the team (as seen by Sanson starting a handful of games before getting injured) so I don’t think he’d want to disrupt it by buying players for big money and trying to shoe horn them in.
Positives of the season - easy to point to Martinez and Grealish as always, but the entire back 4 looks comfortable and composed, and they’ll only get better.
Negatives - Ross Barkley. Woeful