Three hundred twenty-six minutes. That's how long it has been since Aston Villa have found the back of the net, when Leandro Bacuna gave Aston Villa the 0-1 lead against Everton in the 34th. Since then, they've been able to get absolutely nothing. They are now within two matches of tying or exceeding their longest streak this season, which in turn was their longest streak since before August 2010.
The Liverpool and West Brom matches seem so long ago, and that's because Aston Villa have stopped playing a smart, aggressive style of football that leads to goals. Remember those halcyon days? Villa scored six goals in two matches. Put another way, they scored 22% of this season's goals in roughly 7% of this season's matches.
Since then, the club have played tentative football that hasn't been helped by Christian Benteke's disappearance back into the lands of the incompetent (a transition that was nearly as sudden as his brief bright spell, leading one to wonder if perhaps Christian Benteke is some form of Earth-bound pulsar, in which case we can certainly sell him to CERN for upwards of £30 million).
It's hard to even find one reason why this is happening again. Perhaps it's the fact that Villa score goals almost exclusively on the counterattack. Liverpool ceded the midfield and West Brom did the same. As a result: Villa scored! Since then, we've seen teams control the middle of the pitch and play their defense as deeply as they can. It's tough to run a counter under those conditions. Or perhaps it's more akin to what we saw on Sunday: Villa can get the ball to the final third, but once there they can't seem to complete a pass to save their lives.
Whatever the reason, this is the second extended dry spell Aston Villa have run into this season. If they can't score by the 27th minute of their upcoming match against Norwich, they will have twice gone longer without a goal this season than they did at any point last season. If against Norwich City they are held goalless again, they will have only to make it to the 35th minute against Chelsea to best their earlier futile mark.
There's no upside to this. Aston Villa can't find a goal, and as a result they are letting solid defense (5 goals in the last 4 matches) go to waste. As a result, they are leaving themselves open to losing out in gut-wrenching fashion like they did on Sunday. As a result, they are quickly frittering away fan interest and sympathy through a toxic mixture of being both bad and boring.
What a miserable club right now.