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.
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.