Premier League Drop
Bye-bye Premier League? It’s difficult to even decide where to start at this stage as Aston Villa again reached the end of 90 minutes without anything to cheer. Week by week the ‘next’ game has become increasingly important and as a result every failure becomes more and more devastating.
I actually have sympathy for Villa managers as the club is an absolute car crash
Until now clasping at hopeful straws, a sense of complete disbelief, and some occasional small signs of improvement have been the only things keeping Villa fans going, but today anger has boiled over among the fans and rightly so. The club is dying a rapid death, and the possibility of a miracle seems long dead as the team once again surrendered to a rival team that should be beatable.
Car Crash Club
The players have not been good enough. The last few managers have not been good enough. This all stems from one place, the board.
I actually have sympathy for Villa managers as the club is an absolute car crash. Since Lerner decided to completely abandon his initial interest and ambition at the club after O’Neill’s years in charge each manager has had to work on ever shifting boardroom strategies, which are drawn up by executives who know very little about football, and are admittedly ‘not football men.’
Any argument that Lerner is a businessman and that they wish to run it as such, are nonsense as surely forfeiting a massive TV deal next year by neglecting the club’s needs makes no sense on any level, regardless of the board’s intentions. If Lerner wants to recoup the money he paid for the club, then devaluing it at an increasing rate makes no sense.
It will be very interesting to see what comes of Tom Fox’s meeting with the Villa Supporter’s Trust late in January, although regardless of what jargon is regurgitated, it will surely be too late to actually make a change with over half the season gone and Aston Villa still well adrift of the rest of the league. Hopefully he shows up with a letter of resignation from the whole incompetent board, who have run this club into the ground for much longer than just this season.
Some say that relegation may be good for the club, and may give it a chance to rebuild. The problem is those who must rebuild the club are the ones who have destroyed it in the first place. If a drunk driver totals his car would you trust him to get in another car and start again? Villa are in real danger or plummeting into obscurity.
It’s obvious that huge amounts of blame rest at the feet of the board but performances on the pitch have not been good enough either, and ironically it’s the ‘experienced’ members of the team, who we need to stand up the most, that have most regularly disappointed.
The mistakes and lack of concentration from Clark, Hutton and Richards, all led to the teams downfall and what’s most worrying is that the same mistakes are being repeated every single week.
It’s not just those at the back that are to blame. I struggle to think of any team who seem to possess worse decision-making capabilities. The midfield dribbles on occasions when doing so seems hopeless, shoots when they have no chance of getting a shot on target, commits needless stupid fouls, and regularly deliver balls gift wrapped to the opposition.
We all agreed with Tim Sherwood when he stated that the club needed to shed some dead wood. Unfortunately the cull has not gone far enough. It seems that the mentality and belief of this squad is rotten, and instead of some dead branches being cut off, the roots may need to be pulled up altogether, regardless of which league we are in next term. The club must ring in wholesale changes through recruitment or the introduction of youth but too many past failures, ‘utility men’, and underwhelmers are still stealing a wage from the club.
The question remains though, who would want any of these rag tag bunch, barring an obvious few with potential?
At a minimum Villa need a Goalkeeper, full-back (another on loan), centre midfielder, and striker. That will take an uncharacteristic level of investment and besides who will want to come to Villa in January with the knowledge that a miracle will be needed to survive?
Even the few bright lights in the team such as Ayew, only really serve to highlight the lack of quality, organisation, and belief around them. Too often Ayew is left completely alone to do it himself, or Adama delivers a good cross into a box devoid of any Villa attackers.
Villa’s approach needs to change and the players who can make a difference must be utilized more. Both Adama and Ayew must start regularly, as most likely does one of Gil or Grealish. Villa won’t survive without scoring and that must become a priority. Draws are useless now and will do little to build confidence or momentum.
It seemed very harsh to drop the much improved Lescott this week and Clark and Richards did little to justify the change at the back. While Hutton deserves credit for his efforts going forward too often his distribution and willingness to track back is lacking. If Richards really wants to show his love of the club, it may be time for him to return to his original right back berth and allow Okore to take his place in the middle.
Something needs to happen at left-back too as neither Bacuna or Richardson are capable enough there. Expecting Cissokho to return and fix everything is ambitious, but it can be worse than the alternative, although I’d even be tempted to utilize some more of the youth set up in the team and give them a chance to prove something, as the senior players aren’t adding much.
The problem is those who must rebuild the club are the ones who have destroyed it in the first place.
Some will call me negative, fickle etc, but Villa are half way through the season and seem dead and buried. Yes I’ll be supporting next week. Yes, I’ll continue to love the club even if it goes down, but I can’t spout optimism when there is increasingly little to cheer at the Villa, and there is such a clear neglect coming from the board and team.
Sunderland are not a good team, but either were Norwich, or Newcastle. Without Ayew (suspended) I struggle to see us getting anything, particularly as the manager, board, and players seem completely unaware that they have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.
I’m still hoping for a miracle but so far there has been little reason to believe it can happen, especially with our absentee landlord letting the place crumble from the foundations up. All we can do is hope that the new year will bring big changes at the club.
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