Many of us have been trying to convince ourselves that Aston Villa being relegated is not the end of the world, but surely two goals in one game from Ashley Westwood must be an omen of the apocalypse?
Out of The Ashes…
In all seriousness Westwood deserves credit for his performance on Saturday. I’ve always been one of his biggest critics but the former Crewe man showed drive and determination in a team severely lacking in it. Interestingly, the usually neutrally positioned Westwood’s best work came in his driving forward, again something that too few Villa players have attempted this term.
Caretaker boss Erik Black hasn’t exactly impressed me so far. Like caretakers before he has failed to make any real changes and has persisted with the same old duds. This week I’ve begun to have some more respect for at least some of his actions. One must assume that Black had some part in the suspension of Gabby and that is an important precedent. No one is bigger than the club, or can live on past deeds forever.
Surely two goals in one game from Ashley Westwood must be an omen of the apocalypse?
My initial reaction to the Okore omission was that we were burning bridges with another player, who with some regular game time and fitness may be worth keeping in the squad. More and more it seems like this might be pure optimism and at the end of the day once a player has indicated he doesn’t want to play for the club, they have to go. Another one for the trap door.
For all my problems with Black at least he is willing to put the foot down, which this club needs. Now he just has to be more ruthless with his treatment of some other defenders…..
I’m blue in the face talking about Richards and Lescott’s inability to defend at all. Within two minutes Richards had missed a header outside our box and decided not to bother chasing back at all afterwards, allowing Tadic to play in Shane Long and only when Long had smashed the ball off the bar did Richards make any movement at all. He once again spent the entire game out of position and away from the players he should be marking.
Lescott had another shocker, despite being freed of all that weight on his shoulders. In this duo we have two Premier League winning defenders who can’t head the ball, mark players, tackle, clear their lines, or stay in position. Bacuna made sure we didn’t forget that he too is absolute rubbish with an astonishingly bad punt back into his own half, which coupled with Lescott’s immobility and Richards going AWOL from his position lead to a goal for the Saints.
Changing the Tone
One positive at the back was the introduction of young Kevin Toner. The lad is determined and not afraid of a tackle and deserves some playing time ahead of next season. It’s clear to me that Richards, Okore, and Lescott, should be out the door this summer and with that in mind, I’d like to see Clark and Toner given a few games. Both are likely to make some mistakes but have a much better attitude towards the club and are also better at defending, despite Clark’s penchant for the odd howler.
With so many players who need to leave, and so little left to play for, it would be great to go a bit gung ho for the remaining games and to focus on players who may be there next term, or who can at least entertain. I’d happily play Toner, Lyden, Grealish, Green, etc for the remaining games, it would at least be interesting.
Lescott had another shocker, despite being freed of all that weight on his shoulders
It’s a shame that Adama was reportedly given such a stupid contract as he’s a genuinely exciting talent, if a bit raw. Talent, that will most likely be a victim (benefactor?) of cost cutting relegation measures. But judging by his recent rant against the club, we probably won’t be seeing him play for us again, but can you blame him? I really hope changes happen soon and this talent can be salvaged.
The few others who have shown any talent this year (Ayew, Gana) are unlikely to hang around either, so let’s develop those who will be around, and play future stars alongside these few half-decent players from this season.
Lerner’s Love Letter
Lerner’s open letter to the fans was self indulgent and did little to soothe the fury of Villa fans. It failed to address any of Lerner’s many individual failures, or the many who will lose their jobs as a result of the unprofessionalism of others. His admission, from the safety of his privileged position, will hold little weight with those out of work. If he really wanted to stand up and be accountable he could have at least attended the bloody game. We can only hope that his bizarre, pointless, and downright insulting statement is a parting shot and that takeover talks really are in advanced stages. As with most promises at Villa Park these days, I’ll believe it when I see it.
There is hope for the club even if the disaster on the pitch doesn’t suggest so. It comes in the form of the fans who were again fantastic in both their presence, commentary on club matters, protests, and their cutting humour. When things get really dark humour can keep us all going, and also highlight some valid points.
The chants of “Is that a weight off your shoulders” (to Lescott) , “Are you Guzan in disguise?” (To Forster after a mistake), and “Champions League, you’re having a laugh” (to Bacuna) were something to at least raise a wry smile about. If we didn’t have a sense of humour this season we wouldn’t have anything this year, and it has been key in surviving the more serious messes at the club.
The body of this club may be sick but the soul is strong.
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