Dave Woodhall on Villa’s 2-1 defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday.
It was inevitable. After a week when it seemed that progress was finally being made, reality came along to give the Villa a hearty slap round the face.
Normally you can start a tale like this with, “You knew things were going to go wrong when…” and it’s some minor event that can only be viewed with perfect hindsight. This time it was a spectacular, once in a lifetime goal that put Villa one down and chasing the game after about twenty seconds.
John Terry went off injured and before the defence could re-organise itself properly it was two-nil. Robert Snodgrass was substituted before half-time after aggravating a previous injury, leading to a display of awesome petulance at being taken off. As calamitous first halves go it couldn’t have been topped.
There was another 45 minutes to try putting things right but that was never going to happen. Steve Bruce’s managerial career has been built around predictable; his teams can usually be relied on to win games they should win although pulling rabbits out of hats is for other people and starting with two strikers was enough surprise for one day. With Scott Hogan once more looking every inch the £12 million misfit Villa didn’t come close to scoring until Chris Samba got the very definition of a consolation goal deep into stoppage time.
You can argue that it was one of those days. They happen to everyone; the planets align and your lucky rabbit’s foot is stolen by a black cat or something and as a result everything goes wrong. Other clubs around us in the table didn’t get the results they might have done so the day wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
The biggest worry, of course, is John Terry’s injury. Broken metatarsals usually mean up to a couple of months out for any player, not least a 36 year old. I’m not too encouraged by a potential replacement list that includes Samba, Tommy Elphick and Micah Richards (yes, sadly he is still with us), and while putting Mile Jedinak into the middle of defence is an option it means taking him out of a midfield that’s weakened by his absence.
There’s an international break coming up, which for once has come at the right time. Snodgrass can have a couple of weeks to get over his knock, Keinan Davis can rest up for a bit and everyone else can get over Saturday’s misfortunes. One of Villa’s (many) problems has been that one defeat inevitably led to another and so on into another record-breaking bad run. We can’t let that happen again.