Teams around Aston Villa are also struggling, helping Villa’s hopes of survival. But Dean Smith’s side aren’t helping themselves.
Words: Mark Jirobe | @VillaMarkPGH
As football matches are arriving at increased intervals, other teams are most certainly doing Aston Villa a favour or two. Since the restart of the Premier League, Villa has rued chances to help themselves against Sheffield United and Newcastle in terms of wins.
These two specific fixtures were seen by most Aston Villa fans as games that could be winnable, even though all are aware of the success that Sheffield United have had this season. Villa would walk away with draws in both games, but these results will largely be seen as a failed chance to propel themselves out of the drop zone. To be frank, the football from Villa as of late hasn’t been great, to say the least. A staggering defeat to Chelsea that saw Villa only muster 26% of possession for the entirety of the game had many claret & blue supporters worried. In the latest contest against Wolverhampton, Villa lost the contest 1-0 despite having a healthier Expected Goals tally.
Villa may not be covering themselves in pride or glory since the restart, but other teams are gifting the Villans every chance to remain in the Premier League. At the present time, none of the teams around Villa has been able to muster a single point in their own efforts to stave off relegation. West Ham and Watford are all within a stone’s throw of finding themselves in the relegation places if their form continues to decline. Villa, Bournemouth and West Ham are all even on points with 27, with Norwich seemingly nailed down to the 20th position with 21 points.
It genuinely comes down to Villa to try and make the best out of a difficult run of their remaining six fixtures. Villa will be desperate to have a better showing in their next game against Liverpool than they did against a top team such as Chelsea. After facing the newly crowned league champions next, Villa will come up against a Manchester United side who have looked invigorated by the break in the season.
Make no mistake, Dean Smith is trying to find a spark within his Aston Villa squad. Since the restart, young centre-back Ezri Konsa has been deputized into a starting right-back due to an injury to the ever-present Frederic Guilbert. Smith and his coaching staff also elected to employ a two-striker tactic with Aly Samatta and Keinan Davis as the focal points for the attack in their last contest against Wolves. But Dean Smith isn’t giving in to the talk that Villa’s lack of picking up points will confine the club Championship next season:
“When we play poorly & get battered then I’ll say we’ve got a problem. The lads are standing up to everything & defensively we have been really good in the four games. There are a lot of points to play for. These lads will keep battling away.”, Smith said. “We haven’t even thought about playing Liverpool & we’ll start building up to it this week. The thoughts were on the first four games, we planned for each game & they’ve gone how I expected them to go. Unfortunately, we haven’t got the results we probably deserved.”
Villa has yet to be the victims of a hiding since the Premier League resumed as Smith has basically said. The reality of the situation is that Aston Villa has been very poor against top-half of the table teams through the season. If you’re being optimistic as an Aston Villa supporter, you’re hopeful that the players are going to show up in a massive way against Everton, Crystal Palace and the infinitely important last game of the season against West Ham.
If Dean Smith and his Aston Villa players truly want to stay in the Premier League next season, they need to start helping themselves out as much as other teams are at the present moment.