It was wet, miserable for 45 minutes and left Aston Villa fans wanting more – what else could Villa fans take from the not-enough-point at Newcastle?
Until the defensive basics are taken care of, Villa will keep on conceding soft goals. This week it was Lescott (not picking on him especially – it’s been all of the defensive players at one point or another since August) who left the man he was supposed to be marking – the big central defender up for the corner – and gave him an easy opening goal. While the defending might have been more resolute than some weeks in the first half, and it needed to be, until these simple things are tightened up Villa will be left needing to score two to win every week.
When Ron Atkinson signed Nii Lamptey in 1994 he was supposed to be the next big thing in African football. When he scored his debut goal against Wigan in the League Cup, his shirt un-tucked as he jinked through looking like a faster Chris Waddle, fans would have had the highest of hopes for the young talent to be a cornerstone in the already successful Atkinson regiment.
But Ron hardly played him. He would pump up his young talent’s potential but say “he’s one for the big games” and leave him on the bench, if that. Yes, there was certainly said to be some dastardly agent involved and given how Ron treated him at Villa it was a surprise that Atkinson would sign him again when he moved to Coventry, then repeat the treatment of leaving him out of the starting team. By the time he left Villa he had one league start (five as sub), no FA Cup starts but one off the bench and his only three goals came in two League Cup ties.
And yet, he had talent, flair, pace, power, an eye for goal. Maybe, as old school thinking was back then, he wasn’t strong enough for the English game. We’ll never know because hardly saw enough of him to judge him. His life entered a downward spiral after he left English football and his name will be forever linked with “what ifs”.
So: A young talent who excites the fans, looks like he can make a real difference in a time of need, and has more tools and tricks than a Swiss army knife, but can’t get a game.
Remind you of… Adama Traore, maybe?
IT TAKES TWO, BABY
Fans will generally agree that some of Jordan Ayew’s play has been a rare highlight this season. They will also generally agree that Rudi Gestede’s performances have fallen short of expectations to say the least.
But put them together, as we saw against Newcastle, and they could be the next great striking partnership.
It’s a big “could”: Ayew is a bit of a sulker and Gestede doesn’t have much finesse about him, but while the second half Villa performance was much better than the first, and even with the going changing from soft to almost-all-liquid and the lack of wingers to support Bacuna and Hutton’s attempts at crossing, it got much better when Gestede came on and mixed it up with Ayew aiming balls at the big target man.
A humble suggestion: after our next three league games (see below) Garde might want to consider a conventional 4-4-2 against Wycombe with conventional wingers and start Ayew and Gestede as a conventional strike force. What’s the worst that could happen? We get knocked out of the cup by lower league opposition? Been there, done that.
But what’s the best that could happen? Villa run rampant and send shockwaves through the league that the team have turned the corner and led by our new partnership up-front will not be going down without a fight.
The next three league games are pivotal in this awful season. Failure to win all three, and results continuing to go against Villa elsewhere, and the transfer window might be irrelevant (unless Mr Lerner wins the lottery and gives Garde a billion quid to spend).
If the team wins all three, the momentum might make relegation a close thing. If the team fails to get nine points, or can’t even manage three, it might not be the end but it will be pretty close.
Follow Adam Keeble on Twitter @keebo00
Follow MOMS on Twitter @oldmansaid
Follow MOMS on Facebook – myoldmansaid