Back to reality
Aston Villa supporters could probably have been forgiven for getting a little carried away following our opening three games against Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. We managed to pick up an opening day of the season’s victory at the Emirates, and gave both big-spending Chelsea and Liverpool a run for their money.
September 16th, 2013
A very comfortable 3-0 victory over Rotherham in the League Cup followed before an unwanted International break. Many of the claret and blue faithful felt pretty confident in not only giving Newcastle United a game at Villa Park over the weekend, but picking up a comfortable win – how wrong could we have been?
The hard-working, slick-passing team that we saw in the opening fixtures was nowhere to be seen, and Newcastle appeared to have done their homework on both Villa’s strengths and weaknesses. They tried to isolate Christian Benteke by man-marking him throughout the whole game, and also exploited our Achilles heel by attacking the full-back positions.
Walking out of the stadium following the game you could tell that many supporters had felt a real kick in the teeth. I know nobody really enjoys losing but sometimes you can accept defeat – like in the games against Chelsea and Liverpool when your team gives their all – but this is something we didn’t see against the Magpies.
What followed in pubs, fansites and social networks was discussions about what exactly went wrong, with poor defending and poor tactics seeming to be the most popular opinions. For me the lack of experience will play a part and I fully expected there to be many ups and downs once again this season, but beating sides that could be around us come the end of the season is a must.
I am under no illusion, and I know our aim this season has to be an improvement on last season, but it won’t be easy – with many sides strengthening quite heavily in the transfer market – but failure to do so could see the faithful turn very quickly on manager Paul Lambert.