This isn't going to be an especially long or in-depth recap. I don't have much to say in terms of analysis. Both of Manchester City's two first half goals were completely inexcusable; Warnock's challenge that led to the penalty was poor and completely unnecessary. He was well beaten, but the threat presented by Adam Johnson at that point didn't justify that level of desperation. The second was even more frustrating, as Johnson drew both Collins and Dunne to the ball on the right just near the touchline, leaving Adebayor completely unmarked right in front of goal. To see two players that have been so solid for us all season have such a monumental lapse in judgment was incredibly frustrating. Our style of play is totally dependent on our back line, and the team is really only as good as Dunne and Collins. They were very good for most of the day, but there's really no putting that particular situation into a positive light.
At this point I will be honest; I didn't seen the third goal, or any of the second half for that matter, in " real" (I was watching the match on tape delay) time. The explanation is fairly simple;"Sorry about your game today." Those five words were spoken to Kirsten and I as we sat outside during the half and were delivered in a tone of voice that did not imply that the gentleman speaking them was referring to the proceedings to that point. There's a generally accepted code at American soccer pubs about not mentioning results day-of, but it is inevitable that from time to time someone will slip. The transgressor is an acquaintance, a good man and certainly meant no harm. In fact he was likely more upset about it than we were. With that said, it's a rather frustrating thing to have happen, and there's little you can do at that point other than check the score and decide whether it's worth torturing yourself another forty-five minutes (and whether you're capable of hiding your disappointment from the rest of the pub.)
Obviously, the decision was made that it was not. I did not necessarily expect victory, as Manchester City are a very talented side and are an extremely difficult team to beat when they play host. But the realization that 4th was well and truly gone was enough to tie my stomach up in knots. I'm generally a rational person in regards to sport and I tend to take poor results in stride, but this one got to me. Villa did not deserve to win and City were clearly the superior side this afternoon, but the goals that made the difference were the result of mental lapses. That's frustrating, because we're better than that.
I don't have the patience for a lot of negativity, however. I need to get the frustration out of my system and I've done that now. Aston Villa should be tremendously proud of this season and Aston Villa supporters should be very excited about the future. Today hurts, but it's like being sore at the end of a long night of dancing with the one you love; it's not pleasant in the moment, but you'll not remember it too far into the future. Good on you, boys. Up the Villa.