Good times remain way off for Aston Villa after EFL Cup loss

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Any Aston Villa fans who thought relegation would help return the club to winning ways look sorely mistaken at the outset of the new campaign.

The Villans followed up their Championship-opening defeat to Sheffield Wednesday with a humiliation on the road against League Two’s Luton Town in the EFL Cup.

It is now 15 competitive games without a victory for the Midlands side. Although he’s only been around for two of those, new boss Roberto Di Matteo can surely have no doubt over the size of the rebuilding job at hand now.

The Italian made seven changes to his starting lineup at Kenilworth Road from the XI he picked in his competitive debut. Senior players from the dismal previous campaign, like Micah Richards, Jores Okore and Mark Bunn, were handed a chance to impress. They failed to take it.

New owner Tony Xia wasted little time venting his frustrations on Twitter. A turnover of players now appears extremely likely before the end of summer transfer window.

The problems at Villa Park are clearly defensive. The side have only kept five clean sheets in the calendar year and the back line looked rudderless in the 3-1 Luton loss.

Tommy Elphick was signed from Bournemouth to both captain the side and add stability, yet he was left to watch from the bench against the Hatters.

In hindsight that appears a strange decision considering Villa are in desperate need of a win to lift their confidence.

Instead Richards, Jordan Amavi, Nathan Baker and Okore floundered to throw away the lead Jordan Ayew gave the side in the 13th minute.

On the evidence of the first two outings of the season, this looks like another long campaign for the claret and blue club.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.