Defeat consigns Villa fans to a nervy new year and the team to the certainty of a relegation scramble

Usually most things in football are far from certain, but Wednesday night’s games ignored the norm and made two things perfectly apparent.

Firstly Manchester United’s title rivals are doing all they can to help Alex Ferguson’s misfiring team to an easy title and also that Aston Villa have been transformed from perennial sixth place finishers into firm relegation scramblers.

Having battled personally against resorting to the form of football depression that leaves fans spending the majority of the season with their head in their hands and bar-stool preaching about how the gaff should be run, I am now perilously to that depressive urge after Wednesday’s home defeat against Sunderland.

Watching patiently in the hope of revival as Villa succumbed with alarming ease at Liverpool, Blackburn and Manchester City in the past few months having previously been so strong, I refused to fear the worst, especially after the spirited display against Chelsea.

That though was apparently a false dawn as Carlo Ancelotti’s side have seemingly copied Villa’s approach to the games in the past few months and both sides were grateful for the gift of a point that they afforded each other.

Thankfully the compact nature of the league means that there are only five points separating eleventh and West Ham propping up the rest of the league and Villa are from being consigned to away trips to Scunthorpe next season.

Whilst this is far from desirable it’s not so desperate that fans should start watching the Football League Show to bone up on next seasons opposition, as half the season has still to unveil itself.

However it is time to acknowledge that Villa’s descent into the drop zone will do little to galvanize a team that has seemed depressingly low on spirit for much of the season and it will be at best a new year of consolidation.

It’s not as if the side has drastically altered since last season and the two before that, but the team have lost the intensity that made them a success, although injuries will have certainly played a part, but surely not to such a drastic extent.

A look back into the archives, reveals just how far Villa have fallen, as around this time last year the Guardian reported on Villa’s win at Sunderland to send Martin O’Neill’s side up to the giddy heights of third.

The return of O’Neill is not the answer though as I don’t think I could take any more of that effectively dull play which agonisingly fades on cue every season as the fixtures mount up.

Such is my deperation that i have even entertained the idea that the answer could be a managerial co-op between the former and current gaffer to return Villa to the other half of the league. If memory serves me Houllier has enjoyed such a situation in the past.

Tags: Aston Villa, Premier League

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Tom 6 January 2011 at 1:12pm

I agree – the team is very similar to the team from 2 years ago. That’s the problem, not enough investment in new players. Too many has beens (Dunne, Heskey, Carew). Not enough new blood. Look at the teams you were compared to last season (Spurs, Man City, Everton). Both Everton and Villa haven’t invested, but Spurs and Man City have.

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