The end of the season can’t come soon enough. Watching Villa week in week out this season has left me in an odd state of emotional limbo.
The Waiting Game
While I am extremely angry at the negligent management of the club, I am also hopeful that there will be further improvements at the club ahead of next season. The problem is that this has been the state of play for far too long and these emotions have nowhere to go until at least the end of the season, when things can change and Villa are involved in meaningful games once more. My rage for the previous board has, like may other fans, left me exhausted.
It has become more than clear that Aston Villa do not have the requisite fight to stay up this term and it’s becoming too easy to emotionally disconnect. While I watch every game hoping Villa will win, the expectation this season is always that we will lose. Most seasons I’m devastated after a loss, but it’s become so expected now that I am left with only a vacuum of emotion, an eternal wait for something to change.
This doesn’t come from loving Aston Villa any less but it comes from the acceptance that nothing significant can or will really happen on or off the pitch until the season is over, and hopefully the club is sold. The departures of Fox and Almstadt brought a smile, but what’s happening on the pitch brings little by way of stimulation.
I’ve been doing my best to look out for things to be excited or positive about on the pitch, but even when Villa show spells of improvement, any hope is short lived as the inevitable self destruction is always around the corner.
A few weeks ago against West Ham, things were looking positive, then Ayew’s red. Against City and Spurs, one could be forgiven at half-time for being foolish enough to think that our bus parking may lead to a point, but of course it couldn’t last. Villa at times were the better team against an admittedly out of sorts Swansea, but you guessed it, the big red disaster button was firmly pushed.
Only Themselves To Blame
When it comes down to it the players have no one but themselves to blame. Guzan deserves flak for his howler but so do the defenders who didn’t bother marking their opponents. People can curse bad luck but repeatedly not marking attackers during corners and crosses is nothing to do with luck.
Villa had plenty of luck against Spurs with the woodwork doing us several favours. Similarly we were lucky to see Cissokho stay on the field on Saturday when he escaped a deserved second yellow. Bemoaning luck is pointless. You have to make your own luck, or at least take advantage of fortuitous situations.
It comes down to being professional and clinical. Against Spurs, despite being outclassed Aston Villa had several chances to leave the game with something but as usual a lack of any killer instinct ensured empty pockets for the Villains. Had basic man marking been something that Villa were capable of then this game (Swansea) would also have garnered a point. Unfortunate this lack of cutting edge has left Villa in a position where single points are useless anyway. We can only hope something improves or even the Championship will eat us alive.
Talk this week has been that Remi may be gone sooner than expected. Consensus was that the Frenchman, victim of false promises from Lerner and Fox, would walk at the end of the year but that process is likely to be expedited now.
I have a soft spot for Garde, and think given the right support and players could build a good young squad with an actual style of play, but the task may be an unrealistic one. However his uninspiring record so far may have tainted any potential he may have had to rebuild this side. There is an argument that if backed he could turn it around, but it would also be understandable if he was to exit, one way or the other.
Much like with previous managers, Aston Villa seems to have aged and broken the former Lyon boss, who looks bored and lost on the sideline. Aston Villa has a way of draining those involved these days, I’m feeling similarly bemused myself. The big problem is that regardless of who is manager, if they don’t have the support of the board they are doomed to fail.
Greener Grass On The Other Side?
A friend asked me recently, “Will you still follow Villa in the Championship?” The question took me by surprise. Do people exactly think like that? Of course I will, I never saw anything else as an option. It’s probably blind optimism or hope, but maybe, just maybe, this broken club will be fixed.
Maybe we’ll thrive and develop in a healthier manner in the Championship, ready to return to the Premier League one day with a better structure and stability. Or maybe we’ll plummet down the divisions, but wherever we are, Villa is our club. Good riddance to anyone who sees Premier League status as a requirement to support their club.
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