The Leyton Orient 1-0 loss in front of 17,000-odd unfortunate souls was no surprise, but still a shock, if that oxymoron makes sense? It’s getting to the stage that these cup matches should be played behind closed doors. a) Because their real horror shows to watch and b) to save fans some cash on such rubbish.
Aston Villa used to have a good reputation and tradition in the cups, but Paul Lambert has pretty much destroyed it within three seasons. Again, it looks like Villa’s season will be over in January, unless they qualify for the ‘Premier League Relegation Battle’ for the fifth season on the trot. It’s the only tradition the club currently seems keen to uphold.
Anyway, so it’s business as usual in the cups, but there are a few reasons to be cheerful if you like clutching at straws or have a sense of humour…
1. Aston Villa’s forward-line are getting better. After managing one shot on target against Stoke, coming up with zero against Newcastle was cause for concern. Maybe the team were regressing? If you have no shots on target, you can’t technically win a game unless the opposition chip in with an own goal. Against Orient the Villa boys came up trumps with a single shot on target. That means if it goes in, as long as you keep a clean sheet, you win the game. Unfortunately our lower league visitors managed to snatch a goal, but at least Villa gave themselves a chance of winning by hitting the target once…
2. On a more serious note, next week’s visitors to Villa Park Hull City are one of the rare teams Villa managed to beat last season without Benteke (oh, and we managed nine shots on target against them!). Hull will have also played a European fixture on a Thursday, so won’t be as fresh.
It gives Villa a chance to keep the momentum going in the league. A win against Hull and the Cup upset will be swiftly forgotten and the focus will fix on the tough run of fixtures ahead.
3. The Blues got dumped out of the cup 3-0 at home to Sunderland on the same night. It’s rare that both teams play on the same night and since we lost, at least the opportunity for them to gloat lost its impact.
4. With Manchester United’s 4-0 defeat against MK Dons stealing the headlines, most people wouldn’t have noticed Villa even entered the League Cup this year.
5. Villa are out of the cup. For all of those supporters who like to come out with cliches such as ‘it’s a Mickey Mouse Cup’, ‘we can concentrate on the league’. or ‘it’s too many games for players to play’ and other such boll**ks, you got your wish, so at least some fans are happy.
For the record, some of us quite like trips to Wembley to beat the likes of Manchester United (1994), or to witness epic semi-finals (ala Tranmere Rovers (1994), Blackburn Rovers (2010)). We like the concept of football being about winning trophies; it’s a load better than shelling out loads of cash for the kind of drab and dull pointless Premier League games that are frequently witnessed at Villa Park in recent years.
The cups used to give football romance before the Premier League and its money sucked the soul out of them. Apparently, players who are now paid thousands more and also are fitter than ever before, get tired if they play cup games. Oh bless their cotton socks.
It’s all a load of nonsense. I’m glad I’m old enough to have witnessed football when it was played by men who were passionate about it and supported by fans who wanted to win every game.
With all due respect to our opponents, Villa should have beaten Orient and also Sheffield United in the next round, to be in the 4th round without breaking much sweat. It used to be the norm. We’re in the time of our history when we’re not being drawn to play Manchester United every year – we should be taking advantage of it! UTV