Welcome back to Don't look back in anger. To be honest, I'm not looking back in anger, but in sadness, because I'm thinking of happier times. Times when Aston Villa weren't 3-0 down to Everton at halftime. Especially after we went into the international break so full of optimism. Urgh.
Anyways, we might as well move on, because looking back doesn't seem to be doing us any good. Villa play Watford on Saturday and if they don't win it's probably all over. But, whereas most installments of this series have involved looking back at games from last season, we have to go way back to 2007 to find out what happened the last time these two met. Check it out:
The last time we met
January 20th, 2007. Aston Villa welcomed Watford to Villa Park on the back of an 11 game winless run, and managed to end the run with a 2-0 win. That's kind of a good omen I guess, because in case you hadn't noticed, Aston Villa are currently on a winless run. If you hadn't noticed, I'm insanely jealous of you.
Gabby's last stand
Villa secured the win at Watford thanks to a Gavin Mahon own goal and a injury time goal by own very own Gabby Agbonlahor. Gabby is actually the only Villa player left who featured that day, and his goal was one of ten that season. That season he scored ten in 42 games. Since 2013, Gabby has scored ten in 70 games. That's pretty awful truth be told.
Despite the awful games to goals ratio, I feel like Gabby might play a decisive part in Saturday's game. With Jack Grealish banished to the youth team, the senior squad has a space for a more experienced head, and Gabby sure is experienced. He hasn't scored in a while, so I'd say he's due one.
Now, to be completely honest, I can't remember this game. I doubt many can. But from what I can gather, Milan Baros was particularly awful for Villa. It was also his last game for Villa, because two days later he joined Lyon in a swap for John Carew. Villa really hit the jackpot on that deal. He didn't feature in the game, but it was Ashley Young's last as a Watford player, as he joined Aston Villa three days later. Gareth Barry also hit the post for Villa. John Carew, Ashley Young, Gareth Barry; happier times. Sigh.
Watford this season
This season's new boys are doing alright. They currently sit in a respectable 13th place, which y'know, is two places higher than Chelsea. Not bad. Their most recent result was an ultra tough 2-1 defeat to Manchester United, in which they were undone by a 90th minute Troy Deeney own goal. Did I mention that Troy Deeney is a Birmingham City supporter? So, it was unlucky, but also really funny.
The danger man will quite obviously be striker Odion Ighalo. In this his first season in the Premier League, he has netted seven goals in 11 games. Not quite Jamie Vardy levels of prolific, though Ighalo seems to be a nicer guy than Vardy. Take the moral victory. Watford don't have a world class squad, but they have good players like Etienne Capoue in key positions, which makes them a tough and solid team to face.
It's an old cliche that you win games by taking shots, but that's exactly what Villa will need to do. Watford keeper Heurelho Gomes is notoriously shaky, so if Villa can ping some awkward shots in from distance, it'll give the former Spurs man something to think about. Granted, if Villa score or win from a goalie error, it would be a stroke of luck. But damn, Villa are due some luck, surely?