Born under a bad sign

Dave Woodhall watches Villa manage to lose again.

Another defeat. We should be getting used to it by now. This one, though, was the most annoying defeat of all.

Villa did okay in the first half. Nothing spectacular, but we finally scored and deserved to be one up at half-time. We were holding the lead quite comfortably as well, until Christian Benteke’s sending-off.

Whether he should have gone is debatable. Whether the object of his assault, Ryan Mason, should have gone as well, is equally debatable. Whether Spurs should have had at least one player sent off by then is another one for debate.

I can also question where, if he’d done all this to the home side at Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge, referee Neil Swarbrick would have been officiating next Saturday. In the North-West Counties League is my best guess, prior to a Premier return some time in 2017.

Even then, Villa were holding on against a poor Spurs side but slack marking at a corner, a pointless foul in a dangerous position and the sort of deflection that only happens to clubs in trouble saw the game reach its inevitable conclusion.

That’s not to say that blame can’t be laid in any other quarter, and in particular the usual one. Villa’s performance even with eleven men was the familiar blend of the uninspired and the unadventurous. One shot on target, even if it does lead to a goal, isn’t the sort of statistic to aim for, particularly against opposition who were there for the taking.

What was particularly worrying was that Villa’s good start to the season was based on being able to see games out, looking assured when under pressure. That seems to have gone completely now. If the defence isn’t up to standard, and with Benteke presumably out for the next three matches, the current problems show no signs of abating.

The only straw to clutch at is the hope that luck evens itself out, but as we’ve seen for what seems an eternity, that’s not even worth thinking about.