Villa have become so used to losing that even with a 2-1 lead on 90 minutes, the Villans managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
It was great to see Kevin Toner get a start today. The kid is a raw talent but he is committed and the playing time under his belt will do him good. I would rather see him learning his trade for next season than Richards wandering around the field leaving gaping holes at the back.
Proving to our academy prospects that there are opportunities to represent the club is vital to the future. The fact is that these youngsters are hungry to play for the shirt and that’s more than can be said of some of the seniors.
One of the biggest ingredients in the disaster that has been this season has been the disconnect between the players and the club as a whole. The brighter talents in the youth squad will feel an affinity with the club that developed them and that the chaos at the club could be a real chance to carve their names into the club’s history. Aston Villa must be sure not no alienate the academy as a valuable resource for the club.
Some Things Never Change
Unfortunately the joy of seeing Toner in the starting line-up was largely negated by the same old lack of imagination and ambition from the caretaker. Bafflingly, Bacuna continues to start games which I truly cannot comprehend. No doubt Richardson would have played too had he been fit. These players tend to seem more likely to contribute to a goal for the opposition than for us.
Despite having nothing to play for other than (potentially) trying to give the long suffering fans something to smile about Villa continue to be sent out with a negatively minded set up, as evidenced by both the three at the back formation and more importantly the presence of the squads more creative players on the bench, or excluded from the squad altogether in the case of Adama Traore.
Nonsense substitutions that have become a trait of Villa managers over the last decade and as expected Erik Black’s replacements on Saturday were uninspiring and borderline illogical.
Earlier this season I brought my nephew to his first Premier League game, and hopefully the first of many trips to the Holte End. The outcome of that game was the same as this weekend’s but there was one notable thing that stood out that day.
I’m not referring to Troy bloody Deeney inevitably scoring and rubbing it in our faces, it wasn’t the fact that it was the last time Micah Richards actually seemed to give a sh*t, (he was immense in the air that day at least), and it wasn’t Villa continually failing to clear their lines like a desperately hungover pub team.
What stood out was Adama Traore’s cameo in the second half. He was explosive, confident, strong, and not afraid to take the game to the opposition. It’s clear that this rough diamond needs refining but the presence of someone who can actually put fans on the edge of their seat is priceless at any club. Leaving the stadium, my nephew was reconsidering his decision not to get a name on the back of his new jersey, in order to get the winger’s name and number on the back.
The closest we’ve had to any other excitement all season was the equally exciting but rough around the edges performances of the swashbuckling Jordan Amavi, before his unfortunate injury. Adama did what almost no one in the team this season has, he entertained (Sure, he needs to learn when to pass, but then again if I was him, there’s not many on this team I’d pass to either!).
It would be an absolute shame if the club don’t hold onto the former Barcelona player, as a year of first team football in the Championship could be the making of the guy, and could prove a valuable investment, even if the ridiculous contract reported is true.
The Long Goodbye
This season feels like it will never end but the end is drawing near. Next week brings the last chance for us all to show up at Villa Park and make some noise in the Premier League at home for at least another year. It’s a joy that the season is so close to being over but it’s heartbreaking that this final home game will bring with it the end of an era for the club.
The occasion is bound to be bitter-sweet but I’ll be there to bid a ‘goodbye for now’ to home games in the Premier League. I accepted that we were going down quite some time ago but I get the feeling that this Villa Park swansong may be when it really hits home, even more so than the final away game of the season at Arsenal.
Don’t forget to follow Finn on Twitter – @FinnMongey
And make sure you’re following MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid