Villa Are So Bad They’ll Struggle In The Championship

A team full of sub-standard players who hide, who are more concerned with talking about playing Champions League football (Jores Okore, that’s you, the guy who ducked like a 6 year old at a cross). A manager who looks as though he’s been sold a lie when he signed his contract and a team, if I can use that term, that are an embarrassment to their profession, club and league in which they currently reside.

It’s been coming of course, Randy Lerner has systematically destroyed a football club which has for 140 years of its existence played 70% of its football in the top half of the top table.

Not anymore. That’s it, the final death rattle came in front of a watching nation, 32,000 hardy souls who actually paid to watch that tripe, and a bewildered Remi Garde who looks lost, forlorn and resigned.

Mr Lerner: Tom Fox the CEO who told me last summer that there were “bright days ahead” simply talked crap. He employed Paddy Reilly, head of recruitment and Hendrik Almstadt to do the same.

Never have so few people had so much responsibility to get so many things wrong at a club that was built to do things the right way.

Some will say Randy Lerner spent money, £300 million apparently which means it’s down to the players to take responsibility.

But who employed the players? Who recruited them? Who pays Charles N’Zogbia and Gabby Agbonlahor 60 plus grand a week? Who decided on the back of 6 promising games to give Jack Grealish 40 grand a week?

Randy Lerner, that’s who.

So £300 million only looks impressive if it takes you forward or at least maintains the status quo. Lerner has taken Villa so far backwards that as a professional football analyst I can seriously see them struggle in the Championship.

Worrying Times
He ruined Cleveland Browns too in the NFL, to the point where he sold up and went into hiding. He’s hoping the same will happen at Villa but big clubs in the NFL where there’s no relegation don’t come cheap and still have top flight cache.

Villa are relegated, have a poor playing squad and a manager who probably won’t be there come May, so who is going to buy? A Cellino? A Carson Yeung type? A Vincent Tan? Men who prey on clubs for the short term. Never for the long term, to take care of and to provide stability and grow, so it’s incredibly worrying times for the club.

On the pitch it’s embarrassing, players who were recruited on stats but not character are showing their true colours. They talk the talk in tweets about fighting for the club and look at Leicester as an inspiration but they are hollow words from tin men players with little or no character, something the Villa moneybags method can’t statistically analyse.

Comparisons with Leicester when they were bottom? Do me a favour.

Drinkwater, Huth, Morgan and co have more spirit and fight in their little finger than this shower at Villa.

So stop any comparison dead in its tracks, it’s not warranted or earned.

So where does this end? It ends with protests outside the ground by 30,000 plus fans, in front of the offices at the North Stand. It ends by refusing to pay for merchandise at the club for those who’ve already bought their season tickets.

It stops when Tom Fox addresses the realities, and if job preservation is on his mind, sack Almstadt, Reilly and co and immediately get in a sporting board of Brian Little, Graham Taylor and Ron Atkinson. Anyone in fact who cares about the club and knows the inner workings of transfers, club building and common sense together to start plotting a revival. These are men who know success and adversity in the reality of pro football, not the inner workings of a spreadsheet and how many sponsors the club have on board.

Why? Because if the playing side is right, everything else follows, not the other way around.

Arsenal v Leicester
It was a cracking game played with an intensity shown home and away by the Foxes, but my job is to analyse and one or two things concerned me from a Ranieri perspective that I’d like to flag up.

When Danny Simpson was sent off, why was Riyad Mahrez sacrificed? When you concede as much possession as Leicester did after the sending off, you must, must try to do everything possible to give your back 4 and midfield a breather. By taking off Mahrez, it left Vardy as the front man, which in turn saw every caught ball by Schmeichel punted up field in the hope that Vardy would get it.

I think Mahrez would have been better to stay on to manipulate the little possession the Foxes had, find pockets of space and still try to create a threat . With Vardy alone, it was sprint or bust and Drinkwater/Kante were blowing hard with no rest.

The concern now is off the field. The plan is to give the players a week off now, as Leicester don’t play for two weeks.

I hope this isn’t literally a week off, with players flying off to Europe and Dubai to take their rest.

Leicester’s success has come from team unity, being around each other and hard work, so have a week together away, all together, or a very low intensity week at the Belvoir Drive training complex. If it’s every man for himself on holiday, I genuinely worry that it always takes a few days, even a week for everyone to get back on the same page, fit and firing. So I hope they take a break together, not apart!

Super Subs
As for the Gunners, I think that Walcott and Welbeck from the bench now look like real weapons in what will be a tight title race. Teams sit back, deny space so anything proactive late on is a must. Walcott’s pace and Welbeck’s added height from set pieces as Arsenal control territory will serve them well.

I’ll stay with my opinion from my playing days that it’s only the last 6-8 games where the title will be won. Remember the 4-3 Liverpool v Newcastle game? That was two teams chasing the title. The date? April 3rd, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves in mid February, there’s a long long way until players start lifting that trophy in their head.

One or two go missing, an injury or two gets picked up and the relegation haunted teams do their late season magic and fight for their lives, picking up points and putting a spanner in the works of one or two.