There’s been football while we’ve all chased links and been up and down the January roller coaster. We’ve clawed our way back to momentary safety by beating Burnley 2-1 on New Year’s day, drawing with Brighton 1-1, and beating Watford 2-1. Tucked in there amidst scratching our way back to 16th, have been the 1-1 draw and 2-1 victory over Leicester. Now Bournemouth.
In recent years, I’ve dismissed cup competitions for Villa because we’ve been up against it, and the extra games don’t seem to help survival or promotion. They’re a distraction: fatigue, injury, possible demoralization. The only value has seemed to be in getting minutes in match conditions for players and combinations that don’t start regularly. But tonight’s game is a little different.