I get the money. I get the legal issues. And at least some are finally copping to those being the primary considerations for finishing rather than “integrity.” There is no sporting integrity to the season if it’s played out in bizarre, forced circumstances that affect clubs disproportionately. It’s a very small fig leaf.
The world’s finally, belatedly going on lockdown. It’s the only sensible thing to do—slow the spread by isolating ourselves. The response has been badly bungled all over the place, but some recognition of reality has finally started to take hold. And while Villa’s fate hangs in the balance, the only thing I care about in regard to sport is the workaday people whose lives and livelihoods will be affected. People who don’t have guarantees. And of course, the clearest priority is doing anything and everything we can to minimize the number of deaths and follow-on consequences from overwhelmed health systems.
The focus for a while has been on Villa’s defending. Or lack thereof. Only Southampton and Norwich have conceded as many as us, and we’ve played two fewer. Likewise, goal difference leaves us pretty much in the same neighborhood as Bournemouth, Watford, and West Ham. So we score but we also ship 1.9 per match. Of course everyone wants to know why. What’s Terry doing? What’s Dean not getting right?
Wembley again, Manchester City again. You’d like to think that on any given day, anything is possible. You’d like to think that on any given day, anything is possible. On paper, Villa have no chance. Today comes down to whether Villa are going to read that sheet of paper and believe it, or decide to write down something else.
It’s taken me a while to get over the Spurs match, but what I take from it is that we can claw out the results we need if we can just show a bit more composure and cut down on the mistakes.