Proper football is back and this time it's serious. Not that it isn't ever serious but for some reason, I'm feeling like something special could be about to happen and I've not felt like that in years.
There isn't a single reason for this, but there are lots of things that contribute to this feeling. Ironically, Jack leaving is one of them. But again, no more on Jack. Today it is Watford at Vicarage Road and it won't be easy, but we have to go looking for three points.
I write that because there were a few times last season when we didn't look like we wanted to win. And I believe you can tell in the first few minutes of a game. 90 minutes isn't long enough to tell the lads to go out and sit back for the first ten minutes. We have to have that attitude and we have to go out looking for the win from the first moment of every game all season.
We will lose some but we will win more. It has to happen from today also because every single game is important to win. Look at Arsenal, they've played one game and their supporters know the season is over already. We don't want to be like Arsenal.
So my preview post is going to be the same for the rest of this season. Find the formation that suits our players the best and stick to it. Send the team out in that formation to win the game. We do that and we will do better this season than last. I feel good about today.
Match facts from the BBC
- Watford were 3-0 winners when they last faced Aston Villa at Vicarage Road, on 28 December 2019. Villa won 2-1 in the reverse Premier League fixture the following month.
- Villa's only victory in their past 10 league away games against Watford was 1-0 in the top flight in August 1999 (D3, L6).
- Watford ended last season on a club record run of nine successive home league wins, scoring 20 goals and keeping eight clean sheets.
- They won their opening match in just one of their previous seven Premier League seasons: 2-0 at home to Brighton in 2018-19.
- However, Watford have only lost their first league fixture in one of the past 14 seasons in all divisions (W7, D6).
- The Hornets went 11 league games without a win from the beginning of their most recent top-flight season in 2019-20.
- Troy Deeney has scored in all four Premier League appearances against Aston Villa, totalling six goals.
- Xisco Muñoz becomes the 11th Spaniard to manage in the Premier League. He will be the ninth different manager to take charge of a Premier League game for Watford - none of the previous eight have started with a win.
- Villa's 11th-place finish last season is their highest in the Premier League for a decade.
- They were fifth in the table at the turn of the year but have won only eight of their 24 league matches in 2021.
- Aston Villa's tally of 15 Premier League clean sheets last season was bettered only by Manchester City and Chelsea.
- They have started the season with a win in four of their past five Premier League campaigns.
- Last season, Villa won all three Premier League away matches against promoted opposition without conceding a goal.
- Dean Smith's side only took 13 points from their 14 league matches without Jack Grealish in 2020-21.
- Danny Ings has scored 34 Premier League goals in the past two seasons combined, a tally that only puts him behind Mohamed Salah (41), Harry Kane (41) and Jamie Vardy (38).
- Ashley Young, who has rejoined Aston Villa a decade after leaving the club, scored 22 goals in 110 appearances for Watford at the start of his career.