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?
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.
Since the festive fixtures didn’t deliver the breathing room we would’ve wanted, and Watford’s resurgence under Nigel Pearson has not been helpful, we’re really right up against it. But with a win tonight, we’ll have done ourselves a huge favor.
Villa managed to record a vital, but costly, away win at Turf Moor on New Year’s Day, outlasting Burnley 1-2. The match was notable not only for getting us back out of the drop zone and seeing a new formation from Dean Smith, but also sadly for season-ending injuries to Wesley and Tom Heaton. What already looked to be an extremely important window suddenly became even more so.