Under Unai Emery, could the club turn the league title into a four-way race?

These are heady days for Aston Villa. Everybody suspected they were underperforming under former coach Steve Gerrard, but nobody perhaps quite expected the lift off that has happened under Unai Emery. It’s not just that they sit third in the table, just two points off the top, it’s the fact that in their past two games they have beaten last season’s top two.

The assumption is that, at some point, they will stumble, and talk of them being in a title race is always delivered in tones that acknowledge that, but whether that happens or not, the performance in beating Manchester City last Wednesday was one of the most striking the Premier League has ever known. It may only have finished 1-0, but Villa battered CityxG models had the hosts up 2.33 to City’s 0.86. This wasn’t about being clever and picking off their opponents on the break, or surviving a sustained spell of pressure: for all but about 15 minutes just after half-time (in which period City didn’t have a shot), Villa overwhelmed them. Nobody has ever dominated City to that extent in the Premier League.

Continue reading...