Dave Woodhall watches Villa, sees history repeat itself.
Sometimes you feel like you’ve stepped into a timewarp. The calendar might have said Villa played Bristol City on 27th August 2016 but as events unfolded it felt more like 2015. or for that matter any time since 2010, up to and including a fortnight ago.
Villa, with another couple of new signings making their debuts, started promisingly and went a goal up after five minutes courtesy of Jack Grealish, who is having a storming start to the season. As has been the case in most games this season we could easly have scored another couple and killed the game off well before half-time.
I’ll go back a bit further in time now, to the FA Cup of 1887 when Villa were three up at the break against Darwen in the quarter-final when the president of Moseley RFC brought champagne into the dressing room. The players celebrated their impending victory a bit too prematurely and staggered (literally) to a narrow 3-2 win en route to Villa’s first FA Cup success.
I don’t suppose a repeat occurence took place on Saturday, not least because it wasn’t the first time it’s happened in recent years and that much champagne woud be beyond the reach of most pockets. In fact, there was definite feeling of deja vu as the Villa defence parted nicely to allow City a couple of goals midway through the second half with another towards the end just to make the result a bit more definite.
It’s annoying, and I’d say it can’t be allowed to happen again, but the truth is that it happens far too often. We have a new owner, new manager, virtually a new team and an entirely new mindset. Off the field everything seems set fair for success, yet on the pitch the same mistakes keep happening. We’ve got one of the most expensive squads ever assembled at this level yet they’re being shown up on a regular basis by teams who talent-wise shouldn’t be on the same pitch.
Roberto di Matteo said the team looked like eleven individuals for the last half hour on Saturday and he was right. It’s still early days, and I stick by my assertion that we shouldn’t pay too much attention to the league table until after Christmas, but daft defensive mistakes have cost us six points already and a failure to take chances another two at least. Those are points we will never get back and they could prove vital.
Four days until the transfer window closes and Dr Tony is being as enigmatic as ever in his chosen method of communication. We need a striker and a proper wide man at the very least, and while I don’t doubt the money’s there, Villa’s start has probably made attracting the right class of player a bit harder.
We could also do with the kind of wise old head who’s been there, done that, seen it all, can be a good influence on the younger players during the week then come on for the last fifteen minutes to steady the defence when we’re holding on. Such a player, in his early thirties, who can boast winners medals, Champions League and international experience, has just moved abroad on a free. He should have been ideal for us…