[quote_center]Move on from this Swansea defeat, regroup during the break, hopefully welcome some players back from injury, and come out fighting at Old Trafford[/quote_center]
It was one of those strange games in which the result somehow seemed pre-determined from as early as a few minutes in. As soon as it became apparent that they were dominating the opening stages and cutting through Villa almost at will, you could arguably always see a Swansea goal coming.
Aside from Villa being swamped in midfield and their profligacy in front of goal, most worrying was the failure to grind out a 0-0 draw which would, after the weekend’s results, have put them four points clear of relegation and three points clear of Sunderland. More importantly, it would have kept at least some sort of momentum going, which at this stage of the season could be crucially important.
Losing the last game before an international break is far from ideal, particularly at this point of a season when it is mostly about momentum and confidence. However, Sherwood insisted after the match that the players must ensure that they don’t take the defeat too hard, and that is key at this stage.
Villa have a shocking set of away fixtures remaining this season, and so the club’s home form needs to be good enough to carry them through. QPR at Villa Park, now sandwiched inconveniently between the Easter trip to Old Trafford and a journey down south to face Tottenham, is an absolute must win to ensure that the pressure is not turned up for the remainder of the campaign.
I would actually suggest, albeit hesitantly, that given the poor standard of teams below Villa, a win in that game may be all that’s required to pull clear to safety. However, the other three home games against West Ham, Everton and Burnley are all so winnable that we shouldn’t really be aspiring to anything less than eight points from the four matches.
The general conclusion? Move on from this Swansea defeat, regroup during the break, hopefully welcome some players back from injury, and come out fighting at Old Trafford. The break will disrupt Manchester United’s recent renaissance, and Villa should believe they can get something from that game. Whatever happens in Salford, though, QPR is undoubtedly the big one.
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