Aston Villa Inch Closer to the Promised Land Despite Momentum Shifts

The Good Bad and Ugly of The Villa Week

With games coming as thick and fast as injuries to key players, the ‘Good, Bad and Ugly’ column has had to pause to capture the bigger picture. Now let’s buckle in for the final furlong; you can almost touch it.

The Good

It’s quite simple, Aston Villa have their fate in their own hands after a dramatic couple of weeks. The win away at Arsenal, along with progression in the Europa Conference League, was added to with four points from two games against Bournemouth and Chelsea.

While it’s easy to get greedy and look at the two-goal lead given up against Chelsea, it is what it is.

The main rivals for The Champions League spot, Tottenham Hotspur, have lost heavily at Newcastle and saw a comeback fall short against Arsenal, meaning Villa have gained seven points on them in the last fortnight with the London side now only having two games in hand.

No matter what way things go from here, it’s a good position to be in.

Villan of the Week – Morgan Rogers

Morgan Rogers‘ impressive performances and three goals in his last three home games, means that the initial £8 million paid in January is looking like smart money.

With the injury to Jacob Ramsey, Rogers has slotted in and added to the team at a crucial time.

The Bad

The bad news is it’s going to get nervy for players and fans alike.

At Villa games and any game that directly affects them, you can cut the tension with a knife. Hesitation, uncertainty and heavy touches will decide where the team finishes.

Against Chelsea, at any other point in the season, a two-goal lead should have been enough. But in the pressure cooker of the season run-in, it never felt like it.

Chelsea played well and probably deserved to win, but Villa escaped with a priceless point.

With Spurs having the games to make up the gap, the point could be the difference come the end of the season.

Now is not the time for what-ifs, especially when the biggest what-if from the Chelsea game was what if Villa had lost from two goals up.

Maintain scoreboard pressure, keep the points ticking and Spurs will run out of games, it’s all about keeping your nerve on and off the pitch.

The Ugly

While Unai Emery has a no-excuse culture, you can tell the number of games Villa have played is starting to show on the squad.

Apart from the obvious injuries of Mings, Buendia, Ramsey and Kamara, Emery has now lost Zaniolo, Tielemans and possibly the biggest issue Emiliano Martinez to muscle strains.

The ugliest enemy Aston Villa face at this stage is mental fatigue. You need to stay switched on at all times because none of the mentioned injuries will matter if Aston Villa can control the biggest factor in the 2023/24 Premier League, momentum.

Almost every game in modern football swings dramatically on single goals. All the teams are micro-managed to within an inch of their lives, yet the one thing that cannot be accounted for is momentum.

Arsenal, coasting against Spurs, almost threw a three-goal lead away. Villa themselves have been caught by Manchester United, Brentford and Chelsea, while two goals up.

While it’s easy to say this shouldn’t happen, sometimes you can’t hold back the inevitable. The only thing to do is not to let the seed of recovery happen.

If Luiz is a bit sharper and Villa don’t concede the first against Chelsea, the game fizzles out.

For the last three games, three clean sheets should be Villa’s primary target. Achieve this and the promised land will surely follow.


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