It’s Friday night lights at Villa Park this week, and with it, an opportunity to move on from the frustrating defeat at the hands of Bournemouth on Saturday. This time, Everton are the visitors and it’s a welcome return of two famous old clubs locking horns in the top flight.
In advance of the match we here at Heart of the Holte sought the opinions of Dave Whitehead from agrandoldteam.com (@grandoldteam) (click here to check them out) to give us the lowdown on things from a Toffee’s perspective.
Come Saturday afternoon 1197 days will have passed since Villa Park last hosted Premier League football. Our last top flight outing resulted in a tepid 0-0 draw with Newcastle United that, at the very least, halted a run of 11 straight defeats and dragged our opponents into the relegation mire.
A lot has happened since then mind – a couple of takeovers, three Championship seasons, two play-off finals and four wins (zero defeats) against our cross-city neighbours! However, one thing is for sure, we’re in a much better place now both on-and-off the pitch than were back in May 2016.
And whilst we were dogging it down in the Championship this weekends’ opponents Bournemouth have been up to a different kind of graft and guile; steadily building the foundations of what can now be considered a reasonably safe and sturdy Premier League outfit. Having said that, manager Eddie Howe is as down-to-earth as they come and will know that survival is not a given. As is the case for most clubs outside of the ‘big six’.
Whether it is due to my own personal enlightenment in the theoretical and practical implication of tactics or not, there seems to have been a sudden yearning for tactical innovations and knowledge of these over the last few years in England.