In recent years Aston Villa supporters have been hit with some depressing and frightening statistics that increasingly tarnish the name of our club. Record number of home defeats, long winless runs, shocking starts to the season…the list goes on. It’s getting to the point where even supporters of other clubs are openly feeling sorry for us on radio phone-ins.
I told Lewis, who normally writes the ‘The Villa Appetiser’, the MOMS match preview, to skip the upcoming Saints cup game because a) I wanted to give him a rest and b) because who wants to read more about life after Sherwood and how crap Villa currently are.
After what Southampton did to Villa at their ground in the league last season, the fear sets in with just the mention of ‘St. Mary’s’. i still remember being in a pub in Nottingham waiting at the bar to order a beer, with the game on in the background. When I ordered my drink it was 0-0. The barmaid was finishing pouring somebody’s pint. We made small-talk and after I turned round with my beer after paying, I looked up to the screen and Villa were 3-0 down. Sadio Mane had bagged the quickest hat-trick in Premier League history.
That was the game that found Tim Sherwood out and also destroyed the team’s confidence for the FA Cup final and beyond.
Anyway, let’s not dwell on it.
With the names of Arsenal, Chelsea and the in-form Leicester knocked out of the League Cup last night, suddenly the path to Wembley is beginning to open up once again. All Villa need is an inspired performance and Ronald Koeman resting a few key players, and Villa could be back on the march again.
You just then need a favourable 1/4 final draw, win it, and then you’ve got a two-leg semi-final to distract Villa from their league woes.
A statistical crumb of comfort…
Judging by the results of Tuesday night, if Villa go into the game with an intensity to win the game, it could happen. Remember a few season’s ago, Villa’s 4-2 extra-time win at the Etihad against Manchester City in the League Cup under Paul Lambert? Nobody expected that.
Now here’s the stat to bring you comfort. While Villa may have lost eight of their last nine league games, they have won seven out of their last eight cup games.
Okay, all those wins have been at Villa Park, but lets repeat that stat again anyway…Villa have won seven out of their last eight cup games. Only Arsenal can match that stat.
We’re good in cups! Clutch at that straw and enjoy the evening.
PS – The last time we beat the Blues in the League Cup, we went on to win it – in the 1993/94 season.
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There’s going to be a party at St. Mary’s tonight whatever happens, we’re Aston Villa!
That is optimism beyond the pale of duty!!
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