A good week for English clubs, if not for England in view of the injury to David Platt, continued when Villa and the other three survivors in the Uefa and Cup-Winners' Cups by and large avoided some of the potentially more awkward customers.
Ron Atkinson had fancied Real Madrid to follow Villa's penalty shoot-out defeat of Inter, the holders. But that must remain a whim, at least for the time being, since seeded teams are still kept apart at this stage of the two competitions. Instead they must cross the continental boundary to Trabzon, which stands on the south-west corner of the Black Sea and is actually closer to Tbilisi than to Istanbul.
Rather than dwell on opponents about whom he knew little, Atkinson preferred to savour a victory secured by Ray Houghton's aggregate equaliser and Phil King's spot-kick after a goalless but gripping extra time. 'I can't remember enjoying a result so much,' he said. 'You have nights in your life and games that you treasure, and it was one of those.'
The only blemish was the pitch invasion by hundreds of fans after King's winner. Police made nine arrests and the Uefa observer, Des Casey, is to report the matter to the governing body, who have the power to fine Villa.
The stature of Villa's victims overshadowed even Manchester United's creditable draw at Galatasaray and Newcastle's second five-goal rout of Antwerp. Newcastle's reward is an attractive Uefa Cup tie against the Basques of Athletic Bilbao.
Arsenal's defence of the Cup- Winners' Cup, which began with two easy victories over Cypriot opposition, continues against the Danes of Brondby while Chelseadrew Austria Vienna.
Unseeded Newcastle will be unperturbed at the prospect of tackling Bilbao, although Villa's experience with Deportivo La Coruna showed there is more to Spanish football than the giants of Barcelona and Madrid. Bilbao are old hands at this game, but have lost two of six ties against English sides.
Despite Denmark's status as European champions, Arsenal need not be unduly concerned by Brondby. Arsenal, for whom John Jensen will be facing his former club, overcame Brondby's rivals Odense on their way to last season's final in Copenhagen.
Chelsea's tie is harder to call. Austrian football has recovered some face since humiliation by the Faroe Islands four years ago, providing Uefa Cup finalists this year in Casino Salzburg. But it hardly promises to be the stuff of epics: the Viennese earned a European place by beating Second Division Linz, Chelsea theirs by losing 4-0 in the FA Cup final.
The bookmakers rate Arsenal as 3-1 second favourites to retain the trophy, with Chelsea at 14-1. Sampdoria top the betting at 4-7, in spite of a 4-3 aggregate scrape against the Norwegian unknowns, Bodo Glimt. Platt, who scored the first in a 2-0 win in Genoa, twisted his left knee in the process and will miss England's game with Romania at Wembley on 12 October.
Blackburn's frustration must have been compounded by the news that their Swedish tormentors, Trelleborgs, had not only become twinned overnight with Burnley (according to road signs in East Lancs) but also drawn Lazio in the Uefa Cup.
The post-mortems will also be protracted in Scotland, where the demise of Dundee United and Motherwell means no second- round representation for the first time since 1960. Over-physical matches in congested fixture schedules have contributed to the malaise, making it harder for the skilful young players the country still produces to develop their technique.
Penning obituaries for Scottish football on the strength of one set of results may, however, be premature. In 1977, when the impending World Cup adventure in Argentina had some Scots harbouring heady dreams, Celtic were the only team to go beyond the first round - and they had been fortunate enough to draw the champions of Luxembourg.
UEFA CUP Second round: Newcastle United v * Athletic Bilbao (Sp); GKS Katowice (Pol) v * Bordeaux (Fr); Kispest Honved (Hung) v * Bayer Leverkusen (Ger); * Juventus (It) v Maritimo (Por); * Parma (It) v AIK Solna (Swe); * Kaiserslautern (Ger) v Odense (Den); Admira Wacker (Aut) v * Cannes (Fr); Dynamo Moscow v * Real Madrid; Rapid Bucharest (Rom) v * Eintracht Frankfurt (Ger); Trabzonspor (Turk) v * Aston Villa; * Lazio (It) v Trelleborgs (Swe); Sion (Swit) v * Marseille (Fr); Slovan Bratislava (Slovak) v * Borussia Dortmund (Ger); * Nantes (Fr) v Tekstilchik Kamyshin (Rus); Innsbruck (Aut) v * Deportivo La Coruna (Sp); Boavista (Por) v * Napoli (It). (Ties to be played 18 October and 1 November).
EUROPEAN CUP-WINNERS' CUP Second round: * FC Porto (Por) v Ferencvaros (Hung) ; * Club Bruges (Bel) v Panathinaikos (Gr) ; * Sampdoria (It) v Grasshopper Zurich; Besiktas (Turk) v * Auxerre (Fr); Feyenoord (Neth) v * Werder Bremen (Ger); * Chelsea v Austria Vienna; * Arsenal v Brondby (Den); Tatran Presov (Slovak) v * Real Zaragoza (Sp). (Ties to be played 20 October and 3 November).
* Denotes seeded team
Glenn Moore, page 46