The Villa Forecast: Christmas Thaw Needed to Save Season

The fortnightly column taking Aston Villa's temperature...

By James Felipe

The shovel and spades were out in force as we dug our way out of trouble and found a point against fellow strugglers Newcastle United. The game was masked by torrential rain and stereotypical English winter weather but Villa came back from 1-0 down to come away with a share of the spoils at St James’ Park… but could we have got all three?


What are we playing for?

Questions over what our game plan was in the last 15 minutes of the Newcastle game came to the surface as the players and Remi Garde looked happy to keep possession and come away with a single point away in the North-East. Time-wasting and getting the ball in the corner was the well-executed plan as the game entered into the 75th minute, but why?

Did we think a point was all we could achieve? Or was it that the weather took its toll and each side couldn’t muster up the energy to go and get a winner.

What’s in Villa’s Half-time Bovril?

Once again Villa came out of the traps like an ageing Labrador in a field of young Greyhounds. Chances were few and far between and then Villa finally conceded a goal to a player who was without one in 13 months (Coloccini) to wrap up what was a dismal first half for the Villans. But just like the game that went before against Arsenal, we turned the screw.


Remi adapted his tactics and playing personnel to the conditions and we began to profit from it. Chances for Gestede, Veretout and then finally Ayew, who came up with Villa’s goal of the season so far, as we clawed our way back into the game. Any chance of doing that for the full 90 though?

Forecast Ahead

You would think the chances of survival really bank on the results of the next three league games over the festive period. West Ham (H), Norwich (A) and Sunderland (A) are all games that on paper could be won and those could act as the helping hand we so desperately need, as our plight in the England’s top league slowly disappears.

Looking further ahead in the future of our once great club is the highly anticipated January transfer window. Remi Garde has been forthright with the players he wants to ship off to whoever will take them, thus freeing up a large portion of wages to bring in new additions ‘he knows’.

If rumours are anything to go by, it looks like we could be delving back into Ligue 1 with names such as Toulalan (32) and Khazri (24) linked to bottom club in Premier League.

Other names that have been linked to Villa Park have somewhat been closer to home with Steven Naismith (29) and Gokhan Inler (31), who have both struggled to nail down a first team place in there respected teams this season.


Club Temperature: 1°

The temperature still remains at 1 degree as Villa still struggle to find that elusive win after 16 games without one. The draw at Newcastle is seen as something valuable, but you can’t help but think that if Garde actually went gung-ho at the end of the game, introducing Traore and getting it in the mixer, we might have had that elusive confidence-boosting win.

As previously mentioned , the next three games are being seen as something that will really shape the future of our Premier League status, you’d have to say a six/seven point minimum is needed. No pressure!


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