Meh. Same old, same old. There was a slight improvement in Villa’s attacking vigour in the first half but apart from a Benteke overhead kick that made up one of Villa’s three shot on targets, not too much to write home about.
It’s a waste of time dwelling on Villa’s seventh defeat on the trot, as the next week is pivotal to Villa’s season with a double-header with the Baggies within the space of four days ahead .
In the meantime, five reasons to be cheerful as Aston Villa fans
1) Bicycle Kick Enthusiasm
Sherwood seems to have pepped up Christian Benteke a bit. A decent overhead attempt typified an improved attitude by the Villa forward, although he still needs to time his runs better. I’m not just talking about his tendency to drift offside, there’s been a few crosses along the six-yard box in recent games that he should have been on the end of. The kind of chances that Bent would have swept up. Remember it was only Paul Lambert that told us Benteke and Bent couldn’t play together. I think they should have. It’s too late now though.
2) Sherwood Challenge
“I’m ramping up the pressure – I’m telling the players we have to take points in every game we play. It’s as simple as that,” said Tim Sherwood, after the Newcastle game. No messing about now boys. After seven games with no points, any points are important now, starting with Tuesday night. No excuses. No ‘well, that was a better performance’ or ‘we can take some positives from that game’. It’s all about points, points, points now.
3) A Week of Difference
If you’re playing a team twice in the same week in March, that means you’ve done something right. You’re either in the League Cup final or FA Cup Quarter-final, or even the later stages of the Champions League.
The double-bill this week with the Baggies will hopefully be a week to remember. Most weeks have been the same supporting Villa in recent years. Stale performances with a lack of goals and wins. We now have a mini ‘Pride of the Midlands’ series. If Villa won both matches, the boost would lift the team massively to tackle the rest of the season. A double loss and I think it would be massive nail in the coffin, and even with 10 league games to go, relegation would be a safe bet.
This is the time when some fans come up with nonsense like ‘I’m not bothered about the cup, I’d rather concentrate on relegation and the league’. Go and support Leicester then! The reason the club is in the relegation zone is they have only won five league games. It’s got nothing to do with the cup.
Martin O’Neill once rested his players against CSKA Moscow when Villa were in the knock-out stages of the UEFA Cup (Europa League). Villa unsurprisingly got knocked out. O’Neill’s thinking was lets concentrate on the league and Top 4. How did that work out? They couldn’t buy another win in the immediate weeks that followed. In the next league game, they were 2-0 up against Stoke and gave away two goals at the death. Then the team went the month of March winless. If Villa went March winless this season, the season would be over.
Winning is a habit and it breeds confidence, and the Villa players desperately need a pick me up. This FA Cup game is the best chance of that.
Also, it’s better to get relegated and win the FA Cup, than to just get relegated.
Villa’s aim is to win both games. It’s as simple as that, so stop the soft talk.
4. No Saturday League Blues
Villa’s haven’t recorded a home league win on a Saturday for something ridiculous like 100 years, so thank god next Saturday is a cup game. At least we can relax a little bit, pretend we’re a successful team one step away from Wembley and enjoy the one-off cracking derby with a real prize at stake.
Lets grab the opportunity to show the footballing world there’s no other FA Cup venue like Villa Park.
5. No White Flag
We are not relegated. While there are those at the club who quite frankly deserve relegation, the supporters do not. There’s still a long way to go and we should fight to the death to stay up. Never give up. UTV
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