Despite holding out until the second half before collapsing in spectacular fashion, this was another game that showcased all that is wrong with the team this season.
It seems that the inaction and refusal to actually try and make things better has fully grasped all levels of the club from board to players and now to the manager. We all know that the board have failed to even make any effort to prevent Villa’s slide out of the top-tier. Now the suggestions are that at the end of the season a full audit will be carried out of the running of the club. While that should be welcomed it feels like it’s too late, and its hard to believe there will be any real progressive change while Lerner remains the main man.
As soon as City scored this team completely gave up, as has been the case all year. Any attempts at urgency or pressing were completely abandoned as the team sleepwalked its way to 90 minutes and 4-0 could quite easily have been more had City been more determined to twist the knife.
The only gameplan seemed to be to park the bus and hope Ayew could create something out of nothing without any support from a midfield who resisted every opportunity and urge to play a forward pass.
Among the more worrying developments is the fact that even the manager now seems to be falling victim to the lethargy that is cursing the club. Again substitutions were made too late and with little real tactical motivation. With the obvious facts that 1: Things aren’t working out and 2: Big changes will be needed next season, it seems perplexing that new approaches aren’t being tried earlier in games before they are completely out of sight.
Another option would be to finally start giving some playing time to the squad’s younger players, the only ones who seem guaranteed to be here when we start in the Championship.
Using the Bench
Quite a few of Aston Villa’s managers in recent history seem to have some sort of allergy to making substitutions, or using them as anything beyond giving a few minutes to a senior player in a game that’s already over.
In terms of fresh legs, tactics, and developing talent for the future in-game substitutions, as with most things at Villa Park these days, have been grossly neglected and mismanaged for too long now.
As strange as this may sound at first, one of the biggest flys in the ointment in recent months has been Villa’s brief positive spells in games. At 4-0 down against Manchester City Aston Villa finally had a short spell where they played without pressure, and looked to have at least some sprinkling of footballing ability. Similarly against Everton with the game nearly done the team finally started to push forward with some intent, albeit without any real guile or creativity. This is perhaps the biggest condemnation of player attitudes at the club.
While this squad doesn’t contain any real world beaters, these players (believe it or not) are professionals and regardless of management issues should be able to give a better account of themselves in the relegation fight, they just don’t seem to be bothered to do it when it matters.
Regardless of how humiliating the rest of the season proves to be planning for the next should start now. I’ve already mentioned that the academy players should have their development stepped up now with some more playing time but one eye should already be on the clear out and who, if anyone, should be retained.
This will unfortunately be difficult due the general operational mess that is our club, and the fact the there may be yet another managerial change before the 2016/17 kick off. Personally I would much rather have players who will be around next year being given playing time and gaining experience than to waste time on the senior failures and crybabies who have proved that they don’t deserve to wear the jersey and can have no future at this club.
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