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Manchester City Vs. Aston Villa, Match Preview: I Will Fear No Evil, For McGrath Art With Me

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AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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So, we're all resigned to losing this one, no? I mean, Manchester City buys our best players, grabs their crotch and winks in the general direction of Birmingham, banishes them to the bench and laughs maniacally at how clubs like Villa were once upon a time viewed as legitimate rivals for Champions League qualification. I mean, at least until we hit peak oil and these Bugatti-crashing, human-video-game playing cancers that are killing football go away clubs like Villa are kinda' screwed unless they manage to carve out a Borussia Dortmund-like niche of cyclical relevance which Villa are most likely not on the verge of stumbling into any time soon.

So, why care about this game? Well, there are a few reasons. For one, remember when we beat Manchester City last season? Okay, sure. They've somehow managed to get way way way better since then. And that was at Villa Park, with the most hilariously negative tactical approach in the history of football, with the boost of Darren Bent joining the squad in full evidence. But man, that feeling! Screw these new-moneyed pricks! We can do this, with our old-moneyed backing and playing ten guys in the midfield! Yeah!

Ugh.

There's really no way this game is going to be especially entertaining. Either city goes bat-shit and scores 80 goals or Villa camps out and defends bravely and it ends 1-0 or somesuch. And these sorts of things are the real failures of modern football or whatever it is we're complaining about being boring and ruining everything this week. I mean, Villa managed to draw Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and United at Villa Park last season. And even going into those games there was some hope, some belief that maybe just maybe Villa could eke a point. Hell, we took all three from Arsenal at the Emirates! But in games like this, well...

I mean, there are two alternatives; Villa get stomped and no one really notices or Villa don't get stomped (and maybe even draw or win!) and it's a lucky break. And I don't mean that in the pejorative; let's be honest, no matter how well Villa plays, a point or three at the Etihad would be really, really lucky. I mean this team isn't that good, but man are they talented. Ad that's probably enough.

And if you're still focused on Europe and big trophies and stepping up a level, that's probably kind of a bummer. But you could also just mostly ignore games like these, take heart from a good result and shrug at a poor result and just recognize where things stand at the moment. We're not going to be beating teams like City with any regularity at any point in the near future. We're probably not going to be going to Europe any time soon.

But that's okay. We all want trophies and winning and trolling the top four. But for now it's just not going to happen very often. So we have to go back to why we started watching this game and this club in the first place. And it probably wasn't the promise of silverware that got us here in the first place. We're Villa fans. It kind of sucks to be a Villa fan right now, at least in a lot of ways. But if there's a silver lining, it's this; when we watch our bots go into the Etihad, we expect them to lose. And rightfully so, because the odds just aren't in our favor. But when they win, or get a point, or even just manage to avoid embarrassing themselves, well it's pretty fantastic. It's not anyone's idea of perfect that we're looking for the little victories. But that doesn't mean those little victories can't be a whole lot of fantastic.