Dave Woodhall isn’t downbeat about Villa on Sunday. Honest.
There really isn’t all that much you can say about Sunday’s debacle.
I suppose you could blame it on over-confidence, what with Villa in a decent run of form and Chelsea knackered from their recent globetrotting. You could also blame the referee. Villa have conceded two penalties in a game twice this season – both times coming against the teams with the most bottomless coffers in the world. Not that I’m saying anything you understand.
Or you could say that this is what happens when a team put together at a cost of over £200 million and a period of years clicks. Chelsea would have beaten all-comers on this form, and most of them by a large margin. When the opposition is as young and inexperienced as the Villa, and too many of their players don’t perform to the best of their (at the moment) limited ability, the result can be catastrophic.
The game didn’t show us anything we didn’t already know. Villa need some wise old heads in January and they particularly need them down the spine of the team. Ron Vlaar can’t come back quick enough and neither, strange as it may seem, can Richard Dunne. He might not be the best defender in the world but there’s a non-nonsense attitude about the veteran Irishman that will prove invaluable in the short-term.
Paul Lambert shouldn’t allow this performance and the resultant criticism to dissuade him from the course of action he’s set on. Villa played badly and would have lost to anyone. As I said earlier, Chelsea would have beaten anyone. It was always going to be a season of ups and downs and while I never thought we would be on the wrong end of a record defeat, neither did I think we would be on the verge of a cup final. When (I’d better change that to ‘if’ so as not to tempt fate) the team walk out at Wembley against Swansea all this will be forgotten.
On to the Christmas fixtures, and there’s an immediate chance to put matters right with the visit of an in-form but still beatable Spurs. Just for a change this is on TV and it’s followed by Saturday’s game at home to Wigan. I can’t remember the last time we kicked off at Villa Park over the holiday period in daylight; three points and a few goals will therefore make the match doubly memorable.