For months we’ve known our own team’s weaknesses, yet unfortunately they weren’t addressed in the January transfer window. Even Robbie Savage (on MOTD2) could see we lack presence in and support from the midfield, and that the team are also lacking experienced cover in defence, which seems to be costing us a goal-a-game due to inexperienced defender’s clangers. However, despite being in the bottom three with seven games to go, there are some reasons to bring cheerful as a Villa fan …
1. In terms of end of season predictions, Villa are one point up on what I predicted for the last three games. So, on target to beat relegation.
2. Villa’s form and fighting spirit hasn’t slumped for the battle ahead. They are still playing better than most of the teams around them. The Liverpool game could have gone either way, and it was naive defending that cost us in the end.
3. Paolo Di Canio taking the Sunderland job. The Mackems have made two wild gambles here. First, the timing of O’Neil’s sacking and secondly the wild card choice of Di Canio, who lacks top-level experience. It stinks as a desperate throw of the dice. I’m not dismissing Di Canio. If the players take to him, then it might give the team a lift. If they think ‘Who’s this clown?’, then with the pressure building, it could turn nasty in the dressing room. With Wigan a formidable force when it comes to the relegation run-up (they once registered 7 wins in the last 9 games to escape), Villa really did need another clear relegation candidate to step forward. Thankfully, Sunderland have volunteered.
4. Beat Stoke next week and suddenly they are in the mix too, as Villa will be one point behind them. With QPR and Reading looking increasingly down, the more teams up for the final drop spot the better.
5. Aston Villa are European Champions again. A massive congratulations to the Villa under-19s for winning the NextGen Series. A massive and impressive achievement, that should really give those players a big boost and help them make the step up to reinforce the Villa senior squad.
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