When will it end? This time around it was The Hatters of Luton Town who got to pile the misery on Villa’s characterless fallen giant, although a fair share of it was self-inflicted.
Tonight should have been an early season chance for Aston Villa to jump start the RDM/Xia era. After a deflating loss in the league on Sunday the team had a chance to build much needed morale and momentum against lower league opposition. When the team was announced it appeared that the manager had selected something closer to what is our strongest team than those who lined up against Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend, other than Captain Elphick. So what happened? The usual.
Despite starting in relatively positive fashion, Villa did what they do best and became complacent, baffling for a team that hasn’t won a competitive game for god knows how long. Luton’s equaliser was a warning sign, and an opportunity for Villa to wake up and show some character and ambition but as with the entirety of last season, they were lacking in both. Once again the Villans crumbled.
This 11 was close to the best we have to offer and it was outdone by a team in the 4th tier. The unprofessional attitudes that riled us all up last season crept back in as the game unfolded until they were impossible to miss. The team repeatedly failed to clear their lines, or to make and take chances in the final third.
Micah Richards, who I was ready to praise as the first half reached its halfway point, was completely thrown off balance for the rest of the game after failing to hold onto a ball long enough to take a throw in. From then on he wandered the pitch flustered and aimless, repeatedly leaving attacking players to run unmarked behind our defence, as he perpetually did last year.
As Villa continued to drown, the misery was compounded when a lazy attempt at a clearance from Okore sealed our fate. The summer made us all foolishly excited about the return of football, Villa have wasted no time reminding us why we were all gutted on a weekly basis last season.
Another Long Season
A cup run would have been a great omen for positive change and hope at the club, but for this cup at least Villa’s returning duds have ruined it and must quadruple their efforts when they return to the league campaign on Saturday. Whether the season will end with a promotion push or another relegation battle is a fair argument to have after a performance and result like this.
If I had to add any positives, Amavi and Grealish tried to create something, and it’s hard to fault young Andre Green who started brightly and simply got lost in the terribleness of the majority of the team tonight. This team is simply not good enough.
Just two competitive games into the season and it’s hard not to fear the worst for this team, and this season. Luckily time is on our side in terms of kick starting our season and reshaping the squad in the transfer window, but tonight has provided clear evidence how much needs to be done before the window closes.
Despite a change of owner and manager Villa are still a long way from repairing years of abuse and neglect. Xia’s communication with the fans provides a positive change from Lerner’s silence but he must also remember his real responsibilities: Investing in the club, and renovating crumbling foundations. Promising new players on Twitter will only pile more pressure on the club if he doesn’t deliver in style. He has claimed we will announce a new midfielder on Saturday. Failure to do so and doubt will begin to grow early on in Xia’s tenure.
Along with tonight’s fixture, I had pencilled in this weekend’s game as one to look forward to, now I’m dreading it.
There have been rumours of Joe Ledley and Mile Jedinak, both of whom I would gladly snap your hand off for. Whoever we buy, we need players with experience, physicality, and talent and we need them fast.
Good Luck Di Matteo, you’re going to need it.
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