I'd like to direct your attention to this edition of setting the table, published on December 17. Villa had just come off of wins against Norwich and Liverpool, the former to advance the club to the semifinals of the League Cup. At that point, I wrote:
Good lord it feels wonderful to be a Villa fan right about now, doesn't it?
You know what? The gods of sports can just go ahead and eff right off. Since that time, Villa have lost five matches, drawn one, and won one. And this week was just the icing on the shit cake. A humiliating loss to league two Bradford and a controversial (but no less obnoxious) loss to relegation candidate Southampton. Now Villa are once again in the bottom three and have a massive uphill battle just to make the League Cup finals. Usually, we'd be happy with a semifinal appearance in the League Cup. But usually, we don't get gifted a League Two side in those semifinals. This team is just an utter disgrace lately.
My Saturday began with the Villa match at 10 AM, then continued with my alma mater (George Washington University) losing to Xavier, the school that I perhaps hate most in the universe. "All right, sports gods, that's fine. I've got the Packers this evening. They can win, right?" Nope, they apparently didn't realize that San Francisco's quarterback could run. For those of you unfamiliar with American football, what happened was something like making sure to mark every player on Barcelona except Leo Messi. Sure, you do a great job of covering the other ten players, but Messi wreaks havoc on you nevertheless.
What I guess I'm getting at is that I have no damn idea why I like sports. I've been a fan my entire life and I've seen one championship. The team that I care most about in the entire universe - the Seattle Mariners - hasn't even made the playoffs since the year they flamed out before the World Series despite having the best regular season record in baseball history. My other teams have regularly disappointed on a scale something less than that.
And the good feelings? They're fleeting, and usually smashed by the back-to-the-crap routine of constant losing. I'm not really sure why we ever watch sports. I really, honestly, don't have a clue. Just think of all the better things we could be doing with our lives. Reading books. Spending time with friends. Going on trips to gorgeous places of natural wonder. Stabbing our feet with rusty knives.
But we're still here, and I'm back watching American football the very next day. I don't know what it is. I'm hopelessly addicted to sports. No amount of logic can change that.
Onto this week's recap. It's going to be short, because no one wants to read about how bad Villa were. Let's just hope something changes soon.
Just The Facts, Please
Of note: Aston Villa have the second-worst goal differential in the top five rungs of the English football pyramid. Only League One Hartlepool United (at -28) are worse. And no team in that group has scored fewer league goals, though QPR are tied with Villa at 17.
Form (Last 5): L L L D L
Results Last Week: Bradford City 3-1 Aston Villa (League Cup Semis); Aston Villa 0-1 Southampton (EPL)
at West Bromwich Albion - Saturday, January 19, 1730 GMT, 1230 Eastern
New Injuries Last Week:
- Darren Bent
- Marc Albrighton
Returned from Injury
- Ron Vlaar
- Enda Stevens
Transfer Rumor Roundup
- Not much in the way of rumors this week. This may have something to do with the fact that Aston Villa will likely not be making a big signing, according to Paul Lambert. I really don't know what to make of this. So often the big signings don't work, but boy, it sure would be great to see some signs that the team is doing more than rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
- There was speculation that Villa were going after Phillippe Coutinho, a midfielder from Inter Milan...
- ...and then we got the idea confirmed, but only when we heard that Aston Villa's offer for the player had been rejected. Well then.
Bradford City 3-1 Aston Villa (League Cup Semi Finals)
- Yep. This happened.
- Let's not talk about this, if that's okay with everyone. It was pathetic, miserable, and terrible. If Villa want to advance to the final, they'll need to make up a two-goal difference. That's all there is to it. Maybe we'll see a goal explosion. Forgive me if I'm not optimistic.
- You can find our recap here.
Aston Villa 1-0 Southampton (EPL)
- Again. The less said the better.
- You can find our recap here.
- Maybe part of the problem has been playing too many matches. Well, they've got an entire week off before they travel to West Bromich Albion on Saturday, at which point they begin a span of three matches in six days.