The early-season Premier League table suggests a couple of things; that either the so-called lesser lights are narrowing the gap on the ‘big six’, or it’s just taking a little longer for the powerhouse clubs to shift into top gear.

Aston Villa, even with a game in hand, sit in a lofty third place, just one point behind leaders Everton and champions Liverpool.

Yet after last week’s first setback of their impressive start, where Leeds United ran out convincing 3-0 winners, the biggest test of Villa’s campaign now comes on Sunday lunchtime against Southampton, another club who have also started brightly.

Villa’s challenge this season is not necessarily to maintain a spot in the top six — or even the top half — regardless of how exciting such an adventure would be. Instead, it is to learn from the mistakes and setbacks that come their way, to continue building as a team and offer up an unpredictable edge that keeps…



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