By Rory Bibb
[quote_center]’This result, if anything, is a massive wake-up call, a proverbial kick up the arse'[/quote_center]
Aston Villa maintained their ever-present Premier League status, and they did so, the ‘Aston Villa way‘. You’d have been foolish to think this roller coaster of a season would come to a: calm, stable, conclusion.
Saturday saw our ‘tired’ club lose by a five-goal margin, for the second time this campaign.
The five-nil trouncing imposed by our FA Cup final opponents at the Emirates, was a breaking point for many fans alike. There aren’t enough words of negativity in the English language to describe how shambolic a performance it was. The communal feeling of depression was accompanied by a devastating reality check… the threat of relegation was a real one.
Paul Lambert’s reign as Aston Villa manager, eventually, came to an end two games later (inevitably two losses later). The termination of his contract followed a dismal 2-0 home defeat, to relegation rivals, Hull.
Three months down the line, and at the receiving end of a thrashing, once more, a consensus of positivity had replaced one of distraught, devastation and dismay. The penultimate game of this long, long season was an optimistic one, albeit painful.
Despite Villa not being mathematically safe at full-time, the players were lauded and cheered; they are FA Cup finalists, after all. The fear of relegation was non-existent, and the Aston Villa fans were jubilant. Perhaps it’s the comical manner, in which we lost the game on Saturday? Enthusiastic fancy-dress themed celebrations are somewhat conventional for the final away game of the season, but you could have forgiven quelled spirits with Villa being at the wrong end of a thumping.
Post-match, many fans flooded in to the nearest pub, broadcasting Gillette Soccer Saturday, eagerly awaiting goals from the three o’clock kick-offs to filter through. Spurs’ 2-0 victory over, now relegation favourites Hull, kept us up. Euphoria proceeded.
This result, if anything, is a massive wake-up call, a proverbial kick up the arse. Reading Koeman’s comments this week, about how it was tactical decision to target, and run in behind our ridiculously high defensive line, must be applauded.
Fortunately, in the FA Cup Final (yes, it deserves to be mentioned again) we meet an Arsenal side managed by, a very stubborn, Arsene Wenger, a man infamous for sticking to his footballing philosophy, at all costs. Wenger’s teams are tactically rigid, and often criticized for being so; let’s just hope he didn’t watch Match of The Day on Saturday night.
It’s difficult to ignore this wave of positivity that currently surrounds the club. With Sherwood at the helm watching Villa is enjoyable again. On another day, Shane Long’s strike would have landed half way up the M40, and Southampton would have walked away with a much less flattering score-line. Sherwood’s gun-ho approach, at times, will be exploited, but at other times, breathtaking. I urge each of you to relish it: it’s, enticing, it’s exciting; it’s Aston Villa.
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