Dave Woodhall looks back on Villa’s week.
On the surface it’s been a good week, with four points from two games. If we kept that up we’d be in with a shout of winning the title, but unfortunately you don’t play the bottom two clubs in the league every week.
Reading on Tuesday night (which is something I will never agree with – Villa have always played on Wednesdays and change is something I’m invariably opposed to) was the start of the run of what in theory should be winnable games that will propel Villa back up the table. A straightforward three or four goal victory would have set the team up nicely for the run-up to Christmas. Instated we got a nervy, error-strewn performance with a late goal from Christian Benteke earning a welcome win. It wasn’t pretty but the time for nice football is in the future. All that matters now is getting points.
Another one was obtained on Saturday. The script was, of course, for ‘Appy ‘Arry Redknapp to mark his arrival at Loftus Road with QPR’s first win of the season. Villa, though, took the lead thanks to Brett Holman doing what he’s been promising to do all season, and despite letting in an equaliser soon afterwards could have regained the lead before half-time.
The second half saw Villa sometimes struggling to keep possession and Paul Lambert’s substitutions appeared to be made with the intention of keeping a point rather than gambling on winning another two. This drew criticism from some quarters but I’m sure the boss would have received more had he thrown caution to the wind and Villa had lost. This, of course, is the dilemma facing modern managers. Everyone wants their team to play like Barcelona but to do that you either have to be able to splash massive amounts of money out on new players or else give the man in charge time to establish his own system. Until this footballing Utopia is reached results have to be eked out and hard graft must often take the place of flair. Villa’s current position is not one in which to be chasing gallant and noble defeats.
Coming up we’ve got the visit of Stoke, who are truly horrible and proud of it. I can’t think of a better team to receive that hammering everyone seems to be saying we’re going to give a team one day soon. We’ve also got a home FA Cup draw, with the arrival of the distinctly beatable Ipswich.
And not one mention of a certain striker with a transfer clause which may or may not be due.