Thanks to a wonderful four-goal effort by Arsenal on Tuesday, Sunday's season-finale at DW stadium between Aston Villa and Wigan Athletic was largely meaningless. And, true to form, the match often felt like a preseason exhibition, with some bouts of sloppy play interspersed with moments of real fun. Thanks to an unlucky own goal, Aston Villa were only able to leave with a draw - which impacted the only meaningful part of the day, and left Villa in 15th rather than 13th.
With Christian Benteke serving a one-match suspension for his red card against Chelsea, Darren Bent got a rare start. It didn't take the forward long to make the most of his time on the pitch, as he parlayed a lovely pass by Gabby Agbonlahor into a fifth-minute goal, his first in the league since September, giving Villa a quick 0-1 lead:
For the next few minutes, it looked as if Wigan might be in for a repeat of their 4-1 drubbing against Arsenal. But, in the 20th minute, Emmerson Boyce made an incredible header off of the cross to even the match. It would turn out to be largely meaningless, but it must have been nice for the Wigan faithful to see such a great goal in their last Premier League match for at least a year.
As the first half drew to a close, it seemed fitting that Aston Villa should go from a draw to a losing position thanks to poor defending on a corner kick. Ashley Westwood actually did well to clear the ball off the line, but unfortunately Nathan Baker couldn't get out of the way quickly enough and the ball rebounded back into the goal off of his leg. The defense could have been better, but it's hard to blame anyone in particular for the goal.
The second half was a pretty uninteresting affair, if we're being honest about it. The lone highlight, though, was one of the club's best goals of the season. In the 60th minute, Joe Bennett placed an absolutely perfect 20+ yard pass into the box. Ron Vlaar was able to corral the ball, turn, and send the ball flying past Ali Al Habsi for the match's final goal.
It wasn't the best match of the year, but the best part was knowing that it didn't matter even one iota. When Wigan took the lead, there was no panic. It's been a long season, but Villa are safe. We, of course, will have all the season-recaps you could want, as well as transfer news, and coverage of anything else over the summer.
In the meantime, let's all just remind ourselves where Villa will be when next season commences. The same place they've been since 1992:
Up the Villa!