Sweet Caroline refreshingly booms around Villa Park after a controlled, but fair 2-0 win against a compact, possession "obsessive" Brighton team. The players encouraged by the gaffer to unify and present themselves to the Holte End, applauding. A fantastic start for Steven Gerrard's tricky Villans, but has some decisions to make to set-up correctly against an unbeaten Palace side, who have not lost a game since a 3-0 defeat at Anfield against Liverpool back in September.
We travel to Selhurst Park this Saturday, another nice 15:00KO.
Patrick Vieira, similarly to Graham Potter, has managed to keep draws when games become unwinnable. Their W/D/L ratio is: 3-7-2. It will not be an easy trip down to South London, as Villa look to gain consistency with Palace on paper, being a plausible chance to make it two in-a-row before we welcome Man City to Villa Park at the beginning of December.
Gerrard will have assessed his Brighton-winning side in preparation for Palace, which will ultimately determine the team selection. But who exactly will he pick? And who could he have at his disposal come Saturday afternoon?
The front three. Watkins, Ings and Buendia. The only name that stayed on the pitch out of those for the full 90 was Ollie Watkins, who is back on the scoresheet. Some seem to forget how clincial he was last season, bagging 16 goals for us. He was very pleased to have his first goal in front of a roaring Holte End. Ings never really seemed to get into the game, however his impact off of the ball was quite useful for pushing back Brighton. Buendia similar, but didn't do as bad as some may believe. He covered a lot of distance on the pitch, and his press and defensive work-rate is significantly higher as an "attacking midfielder" than most in the Premier League. Neither made the impact that changed the game, though.
Bailey, Ashley Young and El Ghazi came on to replace Ings, Buendia and Jacob Ramsey. And they certainly made the impact. One of the most surprising to fans, was the use of Young in the "10" role. He performed superbly, and it's rumoured to have had caught the gaffer's eye quite significantly. It felt like a breath of fresh air when all three subs were made. The atmosphere, and the feeling around Villa Park was immense. The game felt over at 1-0, we were only searching for the next. And that is something that has been a bit of a theme this season.
An honorable mention to Tyrone Mings who proved doubters wrong this weekend, with not only a brilliant defensive display, but a rocket of a right foot, into the back of the net for us to go 2-0 up.
Nakamba has arguably done enough to earn a starting spot too, with a brilliant defensive tackle output winning 97% of all tackles. However, with Luiz back in training this week, it might mean that Gerrard has the choice between them. Luiz has been missing since the miserable defeat at the Emirates against Arsenal earlier on in the season. His relationship with McGinn and Ramsey was certainly building. McGinn and Ramsey as far as we are all concerned, wouldn't at all be surprising nor disappointing to see them in, after both of their brilliant displays last Saturday.
Matt Targett was back to what know he can be. He put on an outstanding defensive display, and we saw more of his attacking threat as well, which is something that Gerrard ultimately favours in his tactics. Cash and Targett will be given prominent roles in our attack this season as we can already see is a big deal in the modern game. Full-backs are almost certainly one of the most crucial positions in Football today. Let's hope that both of them keep up the consistency, with Cash putting on regularly fantastic performances so far.
Tyrone Mings and John McGinn are a booking away from a match ban, which is something that Gerrard and the staff must be thinking about coming into Selhurst Park, with the likes of Man City and Leicester at home taking place next month.
Douglas Luiz will be back in the squad, however Sanson still needs some more training time to get fully up to speed but may also travel. Trezeguet will play for the U23s next month and is edging closer to full-recovery. Unfortunately, Traore is still some weeks away.
Gerrard on Patrick Vieria.
"He's a man I've got a lot of admiration and respect for, I had many battles against Patrick.
He's a top, top footballer. I know he's a winner and a competitor and he's started really well at Palace."
Gerrard on Ollie Watkins.
"He certainly hasn't surprised me. I was a huge fan from afar.
In the 10 days that we have worked together, his standards and application has been top."
Gerrard on Jacob Ramsey.
"I've been really impressed with JJ because he's a humble kid and his standards are really high.
He's back it up with his performances in training and that's why he got a start."
Gerrard on the academy.
"There are a lot of talented players. It's important that they rehearse and play in a similar way to the first team."