It's a fact of human existence that we remember where we were when great tragedies occurred -- presidents killed, buildings felled, objects dropped out of the sky. I remember exactly where I was last year on this date: sitting with my laptop, coffee in hand, trying to wake up while watching my twitter feed. Then, the disbelief hit. Martin O'Neill had resigned from Aston Villa. Unconfirmed reports turned into actual news. The Villa manager had walked out five days before the start of the season. It was 8am and I was on my porch with a glass of whisky.
And that's how we started the disappointing 2010-2011 season. Prior to that fateful Monday, I'd held plenty of hope for the season. Perhaps the Villa would finally beat Rapid Vienna in the Europa Cup. It wasn't certain we'd get Blackburn Rovers in any cup ties. The possibility remained that James Milner might stay at Villa Park. But we know how it all turned out -- Milner off, blowout loss to Newcastle, bringing on Gerard Houllier, Stephen Ireland an utter disappointment, internal strife, players injured and benched, a relegation battle. Nothing we could have imagined waking up that Monday morning last season.
And individuals...what do you see happening there? 20 goals from Darren Bent? Stephen Ireland to be rolled up in carpet and pushed off a bridge by Aaron? Stiliyan Petrov to let fire from 30 yards? Who will spend more time limping, Gabriel Agbonlahor or Fabian Delph? Will Marc Albrighton and Barry Bannan get into a fight over legos and stop speaking?
But I think the real question for the season is: Will the expression on Charles N'Zogbia's face ever change?