'Powerful response by Villa - but is there enough depth?'

Aston Villa expert view graphic
Aston Villa expert view graphic

Mike Taylor, BBC Radio WM

While none of the opponents Aston Villa have faced since their opening-day collapse at Newcastle United would be among the strongest on their fixture list, 12 goals in three games has offered a powerful response to that result. It suggests what happened on Tyneside was a temporary glitch, not a bug in the programming.

Most excitingly, Villa seemed hungry for more even when the games were clearly theirs. Until Christmas at least, there will be every justification for Villa to conserve energy where possible, given how regular their fixtures will be.

For now, though, they have kept driving on with every player looking for a piece of the action. Fans love that.

Those who trekked north to Edinburgh certainly did. Wonderful city though it is, Edinburgh was not the ideal place to find somewhere to stay at short notice during the festival, but long journeys were made fully worthwhile by the result.

Despite the lack of jeopardy, the second leg against Hibernian will be played to a soundtrack of the Villa fans’ greatest hits, as a big crowd welcomes back European football.

The only slight concern at the moment is whether Villa’s squad will have enough depth. The quality is undoubtable, as is the club’s ambition to achieve, factors, which should make Villa an attractive prospect.

There is a balance to be found here between stacking the squad for every eventuality, and keeping high standards. Currently, they look a little thin in some areas, but Jacob Ramsey and Alex Moreno will be back soon.

Areas most in need of a little extra are at opposite ends of the field, but pose a similar problem. Emi Martinez and Ollie Watkins are currently the undisputed top selections in goal and up front. Is there adequate back-up?

Robin Olsen is an experienced international but has not always convinced during his few opportunities at Villa. Jhon Duran is talented but still developing, while Cameron Archer has been sold.

Villa could easily find another player in each position – but would an established top player want to come, knowing that they might have to wait for their turn? They would need to find the right characters, but Unai Emery is a persuasive person.

Liverpool v Aston Villa – commentary on BBC Radio WM (95.6FM), Sunday, 14:00 BST

BBC Radio WM football phone-In, 08081 009956, weeknights, 18:00 BST