Ok Villa fans. Sit down and start writing the politest letter possible to Santa. Remember to put claret and blue points at the very top of it. After yet another loss, the next few games during the festive period are last chance saloon for Villa.
It’s make or break time. As disappointing as the loss against Arsenal was most of us probably expected it. One of the worst things about it is that it negates any momentum that the positive point against Southampton may have contributed to.
In our next four games against Newcastle, West Ham, Norwich, and Sunderland, there is certainly an opportunity to finally win some games and keep a glimmer of hope alive. I said at the time that I thought the Watford game would be when Villa needed to turn things around, but the next fixtures seem like they really might be the last chance to give ourselves a fighting chance.
Too little, too late
Aston Villa came out in the second half and actually looked like causing Arsenal some problems. Unfortunately this reaction only seemed to come after we were 2-0 down. Villa went down early to Watford and were very shaky in the first 20 mins against Southampton before getting into the game. For the next games, Villa need to start on the front foot.
At the end of the day the second half improvement proved to be too little, too late. Failure to turn these small improvements into solid points and ‘too little, too late’ will be the definition of a season where Villa have failed to build any momentum, or to build on the potential of a few talented players.
Adama good player
Too little, too late could also be applied to the introduction of Adama Traore. This guy is direct, has bundles of energy, and is guaranteed to cause problems for any opposition.
He was electrifying in his cameo appearance against Watford, was oddly left on the bench for the duration of last week’s game, and only made his entrance with a few minutes to go today.
Adama is exactly the type of threat we need and Garde must find a way to get him on the pitch more, either from the start or earlier in the second half. We may as well attack, as without goals and attacking flair we’re going nowhere but down.
Return of the Jack
Boys will be boys. The media will blow things out of proportion. At the end of the day the important thing is that Garde has attempted to teach the talented youngster a lesson, and more importantly that he doesn’t hold grudges. Garde seems eager to get Jack involved again, and hopefully he can begin to contribute more to the team. Welcome back Jack.
As pointed out last week, cheap mistakes will prove very expensive to a side in Villa’s position and they need to be cut out to stand any chance in a survival dogfight. All too often our midfield gift the ball away in positions that leave us exposed and vulnerable. Gana and Sanchez are particular repeat offenders and cheap possession loss led directly to Arsenal’s second goal, and their disallowed third.
Making the right choice
Desperation obviously crept in with our players snatching at any opportunity to shoot, no matter how far out. I’m all for getting goal attempts in but the players must learn to make the right decision. Having a swing at a spinning ball from 30 yards, while off balance doesn’t count as attacking intent, it simply breaks down any momentum we build. Keeping the ball or working it into the box on occasion may be preferable than lazy kicks that are almost guaranteed to end up in row Z.
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