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What a win at Leicester would have meant

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Aston Villa's afternoon in Leicester should have ended in relief, but instead Villa threw it all away. What opportunity did this monumental collapse throw away?

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The King Power Stadium, 20 minutes into the second half: Villa go two up on a resilient Leicester side, and everything is fun and games. Two magnificent strikes have Villa in front, and two of the club's most exciting attackers both open their Premier League accounts in fantastic style. Leicester start the second half as a new team, but surely Villa's clinical counter attack was the nail in the coffin we were looking for - no way back now for Leicester.

That's how it should have gone. Ciaran Clark on for Gabby Agbonlahor, and Villa do their best impression of parking the bus for a comprehensive and impressive victory away to one of the hottest teams in the Premier League; after all, if Sunderland can park the bus for an undeserved draw at Villa, it's also acceptable for us to insure a two goal lead at one of the most difficult stadiums in the country? But that's now how it all transpired - twenty minutes, and three mind-boggling goals later, Villa had managed to throw it all away. All of it.

A win on Sunday would have been crucial - having gotten the short of the stick by drawing Sunderland two weeks ago, Villa was deserving of an undeserved result, as paradoxical as it may seem. A 2-0 or 2-1 win would have gotten Villa off the mark, and for as much as Leicester is being touted as a top-half team, we would have found ourselves just a point behind the foxes. Everybody would have forgotten about last match-day's frustrations, the second guessing of transfer business would have stalled for one glorious afternoon, and we all would be allowed to get carried away.

The young core of Villa's attack was in fine form, and we would all be talking about how sustainable this model was; no longer was crossing to Christian Benteke our only hope - instead we can send out Jack Grealish, Carles Gil, and soon Adama Traore, and wait to see how many goals they score or set up for their team mates. We would have ignored the defense, because as suspect as they were at times, they got the job done. The combination of Micah Richards' fearlessness and Joleon Lescott's experience should produce clean sheets in the near future.

That is what we should be writing about, but instead thoughts of relegation and questions being asked of Tim Sherwood dominate the minds of Villa fans. While I was as distraught as anybody on Sunday afternoon, I believe that this team has a bright future. Villa looked very comprehensive, as we have most of the season, and the goals and wins will come. Sherwood will learn his lessons, and this squad will reach its potential in a manner which will pleasantly surprise most Villa fans.

Villa are indeed not damned to relegation with this defeat, nor are they eliminated from top-half possibilities. This team's best days are approaching quickly, and I think derby week will calm some nerves as Sherwood will have the boys ready for such a big week.

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