Defeat is never nice but when you play like we did against Chelsea the other night, with the players we did, it does warm the heart. You see, football isn't something that instantly gets better, it takes time and we have got better every season under Dean Smith and it's performances like the other night that are reason for optimism and hope.
And this could either end up to be a really long post or I try to end it as soon as possible. There is a lot I want to write, but it's now just past 7.30am and the paragraph above was written yesterday and last night I ended up drinking absinthe dripped through sugar, through a straw.
It's going to be a short post. Today is all about Simon Jordan, Jack and Manchester United. I'll start with Jack, because it's the easiest. Does anyone really think we are missing him?
Now, to Simon Jordan. He was, as I have learnt today, on TalkSport radio quite a bit. I heard him yesterday talking about Derby and the game in general. I've heard him talk before and I know he has a soft spot for Aston Villa. He's also very smart and I suspect, able. And he knows what is wrong with the game. I don't know why I'm writing about him, I think it could be because of the absinthe, but I think it could be because we need more voices like his.
The game is broken at it's very core and if it isn't fixed, it's going to be like the original Rollerball.
And now onto the match. Old Trafford is never a nice place to go, but it does appear to be an easier place to go. I mean, it's not as scary. Sure, United are the favourites today and they should be, but it's not as intimidating as it once was. Look at them, they've turned into that side that spends money on the player that should be retiring, to sell shirts and for PR.
Yes, I'd like Ronaldo at Aston Villa, but we're not even that Club that buys the player that should retire to sell shirts. I know it's Ronaldo and he'll score for fun and he's Ronaldo, but it wouldn't have happened under Ferguson. He'd always be building for the future.
And it does feel like that is what Dean Smith is doing. It's why there is a little hope for today. And now it's 7.45am so I have to go. I think 'not bad' for 15 minutes work. And I even found this.
Match facts from the BBC
- Villa's solitary win in the past 45 Premier League meetings came at Old Trafford in December 2009 when Gabby Agbonlahor scored the only goal of the game.
- That is Manchester United's only defeat in their last 34 competitive home fixtures against Villa (W26, D7).
- The Premier League record for most wins against a particular team is 37 by Manchester United against Aston Villa and Everton.
- The Red Devils are unbeaten after their opening five league matches for only the second time in 10 seasons. They went eight games without defeat from the beginning of 2017-18.
- Manchester United's seven most recent Premier League defeats have all come at Old Trafford.
- They can become only the third team to score at least four goals in each of their opening three home fixtures of a Premier League season, emulating Newcastle in 1994 and Arsenal in 2009.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have scored in 15 successive league matches at Old Trafford.
- However, United could go eight top-flight home games without a clean sheet for the first time since the 1971-72 season.
- Bruno Fernandes has converted a penalty in all three league appearances in this fixture.
- Villa have lost both of their away league games this season, and five of the past eight.
- They have suffered eight top-flight away defeats in 2021; only Southampton have lost more among current Premier League teams.
- Dean Smith's side are on a run of eight Premier League away fixtures without a clean sheet.
- Four of Aston Villa's eight league goals this season have come from a set-piece situation, a tally second only to Liverpool's six.
- Ashley Young made 261 appearances for Manchester United between 2011 and 2020.