Aston Villa have been hit with something of a reality check during their maiden campaign back in the Premier League.
The 2019/20 campaign has got underway with two successive defeats for Dean Smith’s team. A 3-1 defeat at Tottenham on the first day was followed-up with a 2-1 reverse at home to Bournemouth at the weekend.
Villa’s play in the second half in Saturday’s defeat was encouraging. Indeed, for 70 minutes of the game against Spurs, it looked as though a shock was on the cards.
One man who has taken to life in the Premier League with aplomb is Jack Grealish. The England hopeful is the only survivor from Villa’s last foray in the top-flight before relegation.
The season might only be two games old, but already the 23-year-old looks like he is relishing playing back in the big league.
Grealish is now the captain of Smith’s team and he is back making waves on the pitch with the season in its infancy.
According to Who Scored, Grealish is second only to Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne in the chart for most key passes in a game.
The £350,000-a-week (Spotrac) performer has six from his two games this season, with Grealish just behind on four.
If nothing else this highlights that Villa are on the right track. Despite a tough start, they should have enough in the locker to stave off the threat of relegation.
With Grealish pulling the strings in midfield and the likes of John McGinn, Anwar El-Ghazi and Wesley around him, it shouldn’t be too long before results pick up.
Smith must ensure that Villa’s main man keeps firing. He has clearly done his job for the first couple of games and once some of the other players get going, things should pick up on the pitch.