Let's be brief about this, shall we? Aston Villa lost their fourth straight match today, allowing Crystal Palace the 1-0 victory at Selhurst Park. They have now dropped six points to both Fulham and Crystal Palace and look absolutely miserable in every way possible.
The first half was -- at least by recent standards -- mildly entertaining. Villa bookended things with some nice possession but only one shot on goal. In between, Palace looked decent and had a fantastic chance on a free kick. Rather than going for goal, they had two players run at the ball, one kick it right, the other go into the box. The ball was then slotted in to Yannick Bolasie who had made the run into the box, but he couldn't finish what would have been a really nifty goal.
The second half saw Aston Villa come out and ostensibly play football, though you wouldn't know that for having watched them. In the 76th minute, with the team flagging and Paul Lambert refusing to use his subs, Jason Puncheon did the inevitable and gave Palace the lead with this goal:
The only upside to be had in that is the fact that Puncheon WAS marked and actually had to use some skill to get the ball in. Tiny improvements, right?
And of course it ended 1-0.
I just want to say that, after being a Paul Lambert supporter and defender for this entire season, I'm officially done with him. He played a senseless 5-3-2 against a squad with very little attacking power at all. He refused to use subs when they were obviously needed and could have made a major impact. And he's led this club to one of the worst season's in memory. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But Lambert should probably go sometime.
And as for Villa, everything in the table went as poorly as they could have asked for today. They currently sit a mere 4 points above the drop and things are getting tight again. I still think they'll be safe. It really does look as if one result -- of any variety -- would net safety, and it's hard to see Villa getting nothing from their last nine matches. (The four losses and five remaining).
Nevertheless, I'm far less confident in that than I was a few weeks ago. This team looks lost. They look terrible. And they look as unentertaining as any group of athletes I've ever watched. What a mess.
Now go enjoy your weekends. Don't spare another thought for Villa. Put them out of your mind and things will be better. I promise.