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Ross Barkley, Aston Villa superstar, keeps Premier League table looking very 1980s

Retro chic

Leicester City v Aston Villa - Premier League - King Power Stadium
We see you, Bertie
Photo by Rui Vieira/PA Images via Getty Images

From 1979 to 1988, the ten English top flight titles were won by Liverpool (7x), Everton (2x), and Aston Villa (1x). That was before the Premier League was a twinkle in Sky’s eye, but if we cast our eyes over the current standings, we might see the same three names sitting at the very top.

(Leeds United could climb into this picture, too, if they beat Wolves today.)

That Liverpool are up there is hardly a surprise. After all, the defending champions have collected almost 200 points over the previous two seasons. However, their ability to keep playing to those levels will be severely tested after Virgil van Dijk was confirmed to have torn his ACL in Saturday’s Merseyside Derby (thanks to an absolutely ridiculous tackle from Jordan Pickford), and is set to miss the rest of the season at the very least.

Meanwhile, with said Derby ending in a 2-2 draw, Everton remain top of the table. Carlo Ancelotti’s free-scoring side (sounds familiar!), powered by the unstoppable Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s seven (7!) goals, are in the middle of their best ever start in the Premier League and one of their best starts in club history.

Sandwiched between the blue and red halves of Liverpool are Aston Villa, who are actually a perfect 4-for-4 on the season, and have a match in hand over the other two. Last night’s victory may not have been as jaw-dropping as the 7-2 (SEVEN!) over Liverpool before the international break, but the 1-0 win over top-six hopefuls Leicester City means that they’ve kept a clean sheet in three of their four league games, and that’s a pretty good way to guarantee points. At the same time, their rebuilt attack, which added Ollie Watkins, ex-Chelsea Bertrand Traoré, and Chelsea loanee Ross Barkley to help out Jack Grealish, is getting the goals they need.

Case in point, the 90th minute winner from Villa superstar Ross Barkley yesterday. The man’s practically a legend already.

We’ve been here before with Barkley of course. His ceiling has never been in doubt, but his ability to hit it, and more importantly, keep performing consistently at or near it, has. Perhaps now, at 26 going on 27, is the time for him to put it all together, supported by the team and especially an enamored Grealish (who apparently was blowing up Barkley’s phone for weeks on end before he agreed to join on loan).

It is most unfortunate that Chelsea have dropped four points against the likes of West Brom and Southampton. Otherwise, we’d be sitting pretty in the top four already, rather than down in the messy middle, alongside everyone else.

That said, we’re still one point ahead of our pace from last season’s equivalent fixtures, so we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

Oh, and thanks to Spurs for cheering us all up yesterday as well, with their spectacular collapse in the final ten minutes to give up a three-goal lead and draw 3-3. Lanzini’s equalizing goal was most spectacular.

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