Norwich City 1 – 0 Aston Villa
Having pointed you in the direction of the ‘stat’ that Villa had lost just the once to Norwich in December, defeat last night was inevitable. It’s called tempting fate. It left me wondering; does it only work when you are hoping for good things? In other words, is there a reverse ‘tempting fate’ psychology we can use?
In other words, rather than ‘celebrating’ being six points off the play-off places, we’ll pretend to be more concerned about the eight-point gap to the relegation places. Then we’ll fly into the top six. Works for me. Not too sure that it’s the sort of tactical philosophy Steve Bruce should follow. For his salary, you have to say that our expectations may be a tad higher that trusting to luck.
But we may get more points.
Jack Grealish slammed those who thought the squad should aim just for the play-offs. “Promotion via the play-offs? No chance”, screamed the headline in the Birmingham Mail. And he’s right; another performance like this one and we won’t get promoted at all.
It stank. There are other phrases for it but this is a family site and frankly, we don’t want to type the language.
Redeeming features? We always try to be positive so we’ll give it a go.
That didn’t last long, did it?
Let’s single out the good performances then.
James Chester. Led by example even though he wasn’t captain which is probably a good thing because the burden of leading this side at the moment, would detract from his consistency. Which given that it’s a bright spot, I’m loathe to ruin a good thing.
No, that took even less time, didn’t it?
When Steve Bruce condemns the performance, frankly we’re fighting a losing battle in being positive:
We’ve got no excuses, we are disappointed after getting out of jail at the weekend. We certainly didn’t take part in the game. On days like today you apologise to people who have travelled. It was pretty pathetic stuff.
We didn’t do the basics. We never got hold of the ball and we kept giving it away.
You wouldn’t want to have been on the receiving end of the tongue-lashing – we’ve borrowed Bruce’s ‘Polite Public Speaking Dictionary’ morning – in the dressing room at the interval or full-time.
Collymore’s limited vocabulary nailed it as it was but there’s only one reason to mention his name: Pep Guardiola’s hi-larious (© all the click-baiters) reaction to his name. It was genuine bemusement and all I can say is that someone should have shown him Stan’s adventures in France where he ran around shouting “jeurnoleeest” in his best ‘Allo ‘Allo accent, chasing the hooligans like a fan-boy on the set of Green Street.
Anything to distract from last night. I know you think I’m making light of the situation but the fundamental problem at the moment is that we’re in a slough of despair and if you’ve ever been to Slough, you’ll recognise the genuine sense of despair. The players weren’t at the races or maybe they were, because they certainly weren’t on the pitch. Gabby was gobby and not a lot else while Kodjia and Ayew played more like an Old Codger and Aitchoo. It was that bad.
If Sky get their way, Kodjia will be leaving for the Africa Cup of Nations a fortnight early after his snarky kick last night. While the broadcaster made hay with the incident, the likelihood of the FA getting involved is slight, I’d say. It’s the sort of incident which referees routinely ignore at the worst of times but the frustration was telling and summed up the evening.
Norwich managed three shots on target, we had just the one. And my godfathers did Villa make us wait for it. Ninety minutes and we nearly snatched an equaliser. Ninety minutes. Jesus wept.
It was an awful first half. Norwich were, unsurprisingly, the better side but it’s all relative. The hideously inconsistent Pierluigi Gollini kept the Canaries at bay with a good double-save, first from Olsson, stopping the follow up from Oliveira. The Portuguese striker wasn’t to be denied and curled home the winner from the edge of the area.
And that was that. We were the asthmatic big bad wolf at the house of straw. We huffed and puffed but instead of blowing the house in, we collapsed in a crumpled heap with only wheezing to show for our efforts.
Tempting as it may be to call last night as bad as it can get, the inescapable fact is that this is Aston Villa and we know things can get a whole lot worse.