After last weekend’s gut punch of a defeat at home to Spurs, and the increasingly tenuous nature by which we hold on to our spot in 17th, this weekend’s trip to the South Coast to take on Southampton takes on greater significance – although at this stage of the season every game is of significance.
There were notable improvements in a few aspects of our game against Spurs; we were assertive, wanted to play on the front foot and attack, and yet some all too familiar weaknesses and defensive lapses showcased themselves again and we were once again, left ruing another game with no points that perhaps deserved better.
Way back in August on a sunny Sunday afternoon, Villa stepped out at Spurs’ new (originally named) ‘Tottenham Hotspur Stadium’ as a Premier League team once more. Following the excitement of playoff promotion and a Summer of recruitment, hopes were high for an exciting season ahead. After a battling display we ultimately came away empty handed, but not disgraced. Unfortunately, some of the errors that led to defeat that day haven’t fully been remedied and as such, we’ve struggled to kickstart our season meaningfully as yet.
A few weeks on from the first leg at the King Power Stadium, and it’s fair to say Villa have had an eventful run of games since gaining that admirable, and a little unexpected, draw at high flying Leicester. We followed up that battling performance with an horrific capitualtion against reigning champions Manchester City, but since then we’ve licked our wounds and have proceeded to get 4 much needed points from our last two games.
After a much needed win at Burnley and an encouraging performance and result at Leicester in midweek, the horror show at Watford is thankfully beginning to be pushed towards the back of our minds. After a run of 4 consecutive away fixtures in all competitions, a return to Villa Park and home comforts is a welcome relief. Nevertheless with defending champions Manchester City in town, it’s not the straightforward welcome home we could perhaps have wanted.
In advance of another huge clash for Villa in our current relegation battle, we sought the City perspective on the tie from Richard Dugdale (@ignoblewretch) from Man City Xtra (@City_Xtra). Here’s what he had to say.
What a difference a few months can make. At the beginning of October we travelled east to Norwich and returned with a pretty astonishing 5-1 victory. After a tricky start to our Premier League campaign where we’d been gradually improving, that victory seemed to be the catalytic moment that would kickstart our season. Unfortunately, in the months since that season high performance, the opposite scenario has played out for Villa.