More than any other team in the league this season, Villa were expected to under-perform due to the managerial changes and the loss of Downing and Young in the summer. Even Paul Merson said on the opening day of the season that Villa were his surprise tip for relegation. Thanks Paul!
This could have had an effect on confidence, but the solid start to the season proved a lot of the doubters wrong. How Villa perform now, however, after the first comprehensive defeat, could determine how well things go this side of Christmas. Whether or not confidence has been knocked will be evident against West Brom.
A quick bounce-back is needed in order to prevent any prolonged drop in form.
There was a concern during the City game that the player confidence was knocked as soon as the first goal went in, and particularly after the second. Villa must be the only team that consistently look like they will concede more goals as soon as the first one goes in, due to certain players looking sorry for themselves. It happened on Saturday when Johnson scored, and the team was in total disarray. A talisman is needed to rally the team into responding immediately.
A good result against the Baggies is essential for confidence, and it should get the good start back on track. A loss, however, is not a good prospect when you consider who the opposition is. A second consecutive defeat against a midlands rival is not good at all.
I have faith in the players, and I predict the first season hat-trick for Benty. He is one player who definitely needs to be confident.
(Follow me on Twitter @MattLeCameron)