A point away at Southampton felt like two points lost, but what can Aston Villa fans take from a week which ends with a home game against Arsenal in the quest for points?
A HALF OF TWO HALVES
The first few minutes of the game at Southampton were absolutely shambolic. The Saints forwards were acting as if the defense wasn’t there… because it wasn’t. How Villa didn’t concede before some fans had even found their seats was astonishing.
But right when fans would have been thinking it was going to be yet another one of those days, up pops what might have been a well-worked set-piece of all things and there’s Lescott – bang, 1-0 to the Villa.
You can say it’s going to be tough to get anything from a trip to Southampton but frankly it’s going to be tough playing anyone – including Wycombe in the FA Cup – because we have earned a reputation as a soft touch. The equaliser was a bit jammy but a draw was probably fair… if not enough to instill much confidence in the long run because…
OUT OF OUR HANDS
Newcastle, Sunderland and Bournemouth aren’t going to roll over just because it would be convenient for Villa if they did.
Villa needs to help themselves out of the mess they are in, but that might not be enough if everyone around them keeps winning and gaining ground whenever Villa do. Watching out for other teams’ scores before Christmas is another stark reminder of the kind of trouble our team is in.
The media is making a lot of this non-story but it’s worth mentioning only to put Garde’s attitude in context. Jack Grealish now realises that until the FA Cup semi-final most people outside Villa Park hadn’t been paying much attention to him. Now, with his haircut and his youth small sized shin guards, coupled with his well documented partying, he’s a marked man on and off the field.
The rest of this season could make him. If he contributes more than he has to date, gets in among the goals, and knuckles down to prove he’s out to prove his doubters wrong he could make himself a terrace hero.
Garde’s reaction to sending him to play with the stiffs was appropriate and so was his prompt recall to the first team. Let’s move on and talk about how the two of them can work together to get Villa up the table.
For all their injuries, Arsenal are not to be trusted. They have a deep squad, goal potential all over the place, and they dismantled Villa in their last high-profile meeting in the way a Holte Ender might demolish a chicken balti pie at half time.
Is Sunday’s game a must-win? Until we have eight or nine more wins and about the same amount of draws, they all are! It’s very unlikely Garde will be taking his former club lightly but anything less than 90 minutes of focus, resilience and clinical finishing will result in the Londoners and their winning culture rolling Villa over. UTV
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