The Villa Forecast – Aston Villa’s Survival Hopes Start to Freeze

The fortnightly column that tells you the club's temperature...

By James Felipe

The Watford loss two weeks ago killed any optimism and hope for a lot of the Aston Villa faithful as to the final outcome of this season, but then an away point at the team that hammered us 6-1 last season, gave a speck of renewed confidence that results might come our way. Unlikely but maybe.

Swept Away

Our defence in the first 15 minutes looked like they had been swept away in the south coast wind. Chances for Pelle, Tadic and Mane gave me the feeling that it was going to be another bad day at the office for Villa and another day for all us to cradle up in the shower and cry.

Lo and behold our captain for the day, Joleon Lescott, who many have been saying is at the heart of our defensive woes this season, bucked up the courage to make his way into the Southampton box and tuck away a beauty from three yards. But this is Aston Villa, a team that this season has taken the lead on a few occasions with an air of inevitability that they would go on to lose it. Once again, the predictable happened.

 Best Form of Defence is Attack

That analogy can’t be truer, but do we have an attacker that can get hold of the ball for us and help achieve that? At the moment, you would have to say yes and no. We’re finally seeing why we bought Ayew in the first place, his versatility and flair is some of the attributes we have lacked in the last two years.

However this squad has always had a big man up top to hold the ball up, link-up play and generally make himself available when the defence is under serious pressure. Names like Carew, Benteke and dare I say Heskey, have done this job for us over the last few seasons, but this is where Gestede falls down in my opinion. Gestede seems to only hold one of those assets and it’s not the one where he holds on to it. His link-up play and his ability to hold the ball up is his downfall and we’re paying the price for it.

Effective in terms of getting on the end of things, Gestede needs more to contribute at this level as a starter.

 So what’s the answer you say?

Well there’s no definitive answer to this, but we do have options. We do have a more experienced big man in Libor Kozak. He seems to be the main talking point amongst fans and he could be used as the focal point in attack, as we go a bit more direct in our quest for three points.

The most likely option is that we’ll go back to playing Ayew upfront through the middle and potentially bring back Gabby from his recent spell in hotter climates trying to shift some weight (Fat Camp) and wait until January to bring in a new striker. But who is going to want to join a team that already looks Championship bound?

Forecast Ahead

Arsenal have somewhat been a bogey team for Villa, as we’ve conceded 14 goals and only scored one in our last four meetings with the Gunners. Records are there to be broken and we’re going to have to break a Premier League record or two, if we are to have any chance of survival. Being a supporter of the Villa and seeing Arsenal drop points at Norwich and West Brom, it suggests there is something to grab from this game. Either it will be revenge for the FA Cup, or more of the same.

Club Temperature: 1°

It felt like it was picking up after grabbing a point from Southampton last weekend, but every time someone shoves the table in your face and points at how many points Villa are from safety, realism quickly kicks in. UTV

Follow James on Twitter at @Jfelipe1

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