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(Originally written for Aston Villa supporter site MyOldManSaid.com)
Out the door on 74? Villa were out of the game after less than 7 minutes.
The best laid plans……
Remi Garde decided to go with five across the back and two up front for this one, and in theory this seemed like it could be a good idea. Allowing three defenders should alleviate the amount of time and space given to the opposition within our own box and provide more physicality across the back. It may also have been argued that the extra two centre backs may mean that Micah Richards lack of positional discipline would be less of an issue as adequate cover would be provided.
Having two players up front would surely allow Villa to threaten the opposition goal together instead of the usual isolated, solo forward. The two full-backs and a midfield consisting of two average footballers and a Bacuna should be more than capable of supporting the attack without the team falling apart structurally right?
Non of this logic proved to be true.
At least we’re consistent
Somehow Villa still managed to be outnumbered every time Everton attacked, Richards regularly left his team-mates isolated by abandoning his post and every corner, cross, and forward ball seemed to fall to a queue of unmarked Everton players ready to take their turn at dismantling a hopeless Aston Villa side.
It’s all well and good to pile on the centre-backs but if none of them are capable of marking or attacking the ball in the air, what’s the point in having any? At least Nathan Baker would have thrown himself at one aerial challenge, granted he would have injured himself in the process and had to be replaced.
Early in the game, even before groups of fans prepared to leave the game on the 74 minute mark, it seemed that several of Villa’s players were trying to leave the game too.
Clark and Gana were both booked inside 20 minutes. Bacuna followed suit shortly after. Gana continued to try and wrestle players to the ground and I was fully expecting Bacuna to get himself dismissed. If I’m being completely honest I kind of hoped he would, preferably for something that would get him a very long ban from football so that I never have to watch him aimlessly saunter around my teams pitch again.
A New Generation
In most normal seasons deciding to field the academy players for the remaining games would be seen as something to be resorted to only when Aston Villa were officially and mathematically relegated. In my mind any mathematical formula taking into account form, ability, desire, and circumstance would prove this team well and truly down, beyond any doubt.
Furthermore the use of ‘B’ teams is usually to rest senior players and field a ‘weaker team.’ For Villa all evidence would suggest that our youth team may in fact be the stronger team on the clubs books. Garde stated that he needed to find 11 players who would fight for the shirt, I’m sure there is a line forming from the academy.
Rather than receiving criticism for dropping the seniors, as Manchester City’s Manuel Pellegrini did recently, Garde may actually gain favour from the Villa faithful who would see that he is willing to be bold and refuse to reward player apathy and indifference, and that he has one eye on an actual future for the club.
The Dole Queue
The way performances have been recently I wouldn’t shed a tear if none of today’s starting eleven were at the club next season, in fact I may start crossing my fingers that they are shown the door. Villa’s youngsters will be a huge part of next year’s campaign and any possible bright future, let’s get them ready.
I’m positive that 11 Villa youngsters would give a better account of themselves than the still floating dead wood in our sinking squad. In all honesty, 11 people plucked from the stands probably would too.
A mass exodus of first teamers after a relegation is usually a huge fear for fans of any club. I’m more worried that we won’t be able to get rid of many of the current freeloaders in the squad. It’s clear that many of these players don’t want to be here, let’s hope they get their wish soon.
Forget Derby, this is the worst top flight team I’ve ever seen in just about every regard. It’s embarrassing for us fans, but the players themselves should be embarrassed. I am at a loss as to what’s going through their mind. Most of these players must want out of Villa but realistically who is going to waste their money on this group of amateurs? The least they could do is put in a shift simply to put themselves in the shop window for any local Sunday league teams who need some emergency back ups or someone to hand out the half time oranges.
When Villa played Everton at Goodison earlier this season the home team were impressive. The link-up play from the front was very impressive and even on one of Villa’s…less bad days, there was little they could have done to stop Lukaku and co. Today however was a different story. While Everton fully deserved the win they never really had to get out of first gear. For large periods the team in blue were sloppy in possession but it always seemed like it didn’t matter as Villa were unlikely to cause any real threat.
Rudy Gestede came on again and had a part to play, getting Villa a goal without even having to use his hands like the last two he was involved in. As most of the squad don’t feel the need to even play for their place in the Premier League, it’s nice to see we seem to have a player who can prove he is worth a place in the second tier.
In Rudy Gestede we have a player, who despite being off the pace at times in the top division, has proven he can be very effective in the Championship. For the rest, it seems the Championship may be beyond their depth.
With title hopefuls Man City and Spurs up next, I wouldn’t be hugely surprised if Aston Villa fans upgrade from commercial and 16 minute walk outs, to all out boycotts on anything involving football and Aston Villa, the players appear to have done so already.
Obviously things are seriously miserable at Villa Park at the moment and only our humour and prayers of serious change are keeping us all going week-to-week, so I’ve decided to end on a positive note, with a fact that may cheer some fans up at least a little bit….
We’re one game closer to this horrendous season finally being over.