Dean Smith made the admission that the FA Cup isn’t too important this season in his post-match comments.
Words: Mark Jirobe | @VillaMarkPGH
Aston Villa currently sit one point from safety in the Premier League, going into what could be the biggest January transfer window to date for the Midlands-based giant.
They recently bowed out of the FA cup, much to the dismay of many diehard supporters of the claret and blue. To most, it just ‘isn’t good enough’.
The 2-1 loss to Sky Bet Championship outfit Fulham was an uninteresting performance, to say the least, from Aston Villa. The passing was poor, attacking intent was lacking, and a number of players just didn’t seem like they were too bothered by the game in general.
Captain Jack Grealish was given the afternoon off, along with several other starting eleven mainstays. Even the goal that was scored, a tap-in from El Ghazi following a lobbed effort from Kodjia seemed a little undeserved.
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith sent a cheeky message in his post-game interview, and it’s a message that fans shouldn’t just hastily bat away.
“I’m disappointed. Disappointed for our supporters who have travelled in their numbers today.”
“But, I think everybody can see with the selections and the substitutions that it wasn’t at the top of our priorities with the number of games we’ve had since December 17th, and the amount of games we’ve got coming up.”
It would not be a bad idea to read that again, and again, until the nail drives home.
It is a bitter pill to swallow considering the money that Aston Villa spent in the summer is no small sum and there were definitive opinions that the players acquired could catapult Villa to the heights of yesteryear.
Sadly, this has not been the case. But the quote from Smith signifies that the Premier League is the main and maybe only focus. Not the FA Cup and begrudgingly, probably not the Carabao Cup either. Villa have made their way to the League Cup semi-final against Leicester at a time where injuries in key positions will make them massive underdogs for the two-legged affair.
The football on display from a side like Aston Villa in the FA Cup exit was worrisome. Granted, Dean Smith rolled out a disjointed and unfamiliar side against the Cottagers and decided to involve a few of the Villa academy players. If there is one small positive light for Villa fans to look towards in this current sea of darkened surroundings it is that the January window must bring in new faces for a proper relegation battle.
There will be loads of players linked with joining Villa, but the overall opinion seems to match that of the summer. Supporters want quick fixes with Premier League experience, who can score goals, who will hit the ground running. These types of opinions seem to be hope more than reality and Villa may be corralled into signing lesser-known players who have succeeded in lesser prestigious leagues, just like they did once promoted.
What is the current draw for joining Aston Villa considering their league position and injury crisis? Who would want to step into the shoes of the main striking option after we’ve all witnessed the negative opinions about Wesley basically all season? It is going to take a special kind of person and a special kind of player and an actual metric tonne of convincing.
Being in a relegation battle is difficult in the Premier League to fans & players alike and is only intensified with losing your main striking option and goalkeeper. That is exactly where Aston Villa find themselves. If Villa is to make a real go of this, the supporters need to be laser-focused on survival in the league being the only thing that matters. No matter how badly they would like to see the club acquire silverware.