In what may have been the most embarrassing result yet in a season that hasn't lacked for them, Aston Villa has dropped the first leg of the League Cup semifinal to League Two Bradford City. The Bantams took a 1-0 lead into the break thanks to Nahki Wells and Rory McArdle added another for the home side in the 77nd minute. Andreas Weimann scored what looked to be a massive goal for Villa in the 82nd minute, but Bradford City would restore their two goal advantage just before full time thanks to Carl McHugh.
The causes of Villa's undoing were familiar to anyone that's followed them closely this season. Plenty of chances were created and left begging, while the defense was ripped apart with worrying ease. All three of Bradford's goals came from or in the direct aftermath of set pieces, and those set pieces were won in large part due to horrendous defending. And it wasn't an issue of Bradford finishing the few chances they were able to craft, as one might expect from a game such as this. The Bantams held their own in the possession battle and managed to outshoot Villa by a margin of 20-18.
Bradford City wasn't "resilient" or "gutsy" or any of the other euphemisms for "lucky" that are typically employed when lower-side opposition gets the better of a top flight said. They were just flat-out better than Villa in nearly every respect, and they fully deserve their 3-1 lead heading into the return leg two weeks from today. A 3-1 deficit to the Bantams is far from insurmountable, especially at home. But if Aston Villa put in another performance of this caliber it might as well be. Whatever is wrong with this team needs to get fixed, and soon. With Southampton coming to Villa Park on Saturday and with the season now past the halfway point, time is running out to get things headed back in the right direction.