And the beat goes on

Villa lost again – no surprise there as Dave Woodhall comments.

Until a couple of weeks ago there was one thing that could be said on behalf of the current side in the Worst Ever Villa Team debate. Their 1986-87 counterparts tended to get hammered every other game whereas the current lot were losing by the odd goal or sometimes two. Fifteen against in the last four matches is even casting that feeblest of defences aside.

Manchester City had lost three straight league matches until Saturday. Getting to half-time goalless could therefore have been grounds for optimism – surely their supporters would be getting restless, their players nervous and who knows; there might even be the opportunity to sneak a breakaway goal. That little glimmer of hope soon went the same way as every other bright side we’ve tried to look on since August.

As has invariably been the case with Villa’s opponents all season, City didn’t have to do anything special in the second half. They didn’t even have to raise their game particularly. All they had to do was kick off and wait for the mistakes. Two in the opening five minutes, four down within 21; Micah Richards celebrating his return to the Etihad with a strong claim to be Man of the Match by having a hand in all four.

It’s getting harder by the week to write anything different about the Villa because every week is the same. On the pitch the team’s effort is getting noticably less, their ill-disciplined attitude towards Remi Garde more obvious. Off the pitch supporters are angrier and the stories about dissent and disharmony in the ranks increase. This week there were further rumours of dressing room splits, while former defender Matt Lowton talked about cliques amongst the playing staff while he was at Villa Park.

In the circumstances Garde’s future is coming under increased speculation and while his record clearly isn’t good enough, I don’t think it’s right to judge a manager on how he performs with someone else’s set of players – or in this case, due to the haphazard way Villa have been run in recent history, the players of five totally different managers.

But at the moment I want him to stay for one main reason – the players clearly want him out and I wouldn’t give this bunch of under-achieving no-hopers the satisfaction of knowing that they hounded out someone whose biggest crime was that he was the first man in far too long to tell them straight that their perfomances aren’t good enough.