New Year's Day is a strange time for a football writer. The division of a calendar year in the sport means almost nothing, since the season always straddles two years. But it can still be interesting to look back and ask what a team or an individual have accomplished in a given year.
Unfortunately, with Aston Villa, the answer is "not much." I went back and took a look at the results that the team, under three different full-time managers, cobbled together in 2015, and they're just as bad as you'd expect. I'll go ahead and break this down by competition and manager so that we can see the end results. But if you want the TL;DR version: under all three managers this year Aston Villa have been unquestionably relegation quality. Ugh.
Let's start with the big picture. In all competitions in 2015 (excluding friendlies) Aston Villa played 47 matches. They had 13 wins, 7 draws, and 27 losses. To put that another way, we got basically one win per month in 2015, and 2.25 losses per month. Thank heavens for draws to keep our sanity?
Villa scored 51 goals in 2015 (1.09 per match) and allowed 81 (1.72 per match).
Rather conveniently, Villa played 38 Premier League matches in 2015, so we don't have to do any conversion to see what their pace would have been over an entire season. That makes the math easy! That's where the good news ends here. After that, things get grim.
Because in 2015, Aston Villa got 25 points in the Premier League, thanks to a record of 6 wins, 7 draws, and 25 losses. Since the Premier League converted to a 38-match schedule in the 1995-96 season, only five teams have failed to amass 25 points in a season. Had 2015 been a season, Villa would be tied with QPR (2012-13) and Wolverhampton (2011-12) as the sixth-worst club in League history.
(Note: It's only gotten worse. With the way the 2015-16 season is going, we may wish that we could take the points tally from the 2015 year instead.)
In the League, Villa scored 35 goals and allowed 69.
The FA Cup was an unquestionable success. Wins against Blackpool, Bournemouth, Leicester, West Brom, and Liverpool got us to the final at Wembley and then I have no recollection of what happened on May 30 so I assume we won and Aston Villa are great. Yayyyyy.
Our final record in this competition was 5 wins and [REDACTED] losses, with 9 goals scored and 7 allowed.
Another winning record, and this time in England's least prestigious cup! (Yes, I'm including the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and your local Sunday League's beer cup.) We won two matches here! And you know what, beating Birmingham City was a pretty great highlight. But losing in the fourth round to Southampton was a real downer, especially in a year with so little else to enjoy.
Villa won 2 League Cup matches in 2015, lost 1, scored 7 goals, and allowed 5. In terms of goals scored, this was the biggest bright spot in our season.
Ah yes, the Scottish manager. Lambert only got eight matches in 2015. Two of those were in the FA Cup, and there he was a resounding success. Two wins, three goals scored, and one allowed. Yay!
But over in the Premier League, Lambert's 2015 hit it's apex with a boring 0-0 draw on New Year's Day against Crystal Palace. That was followed by five consecutive losses that led to his sacking.
It's silly to do so because of small sample sizes, but if you were to extrapolate Lambert's six Premier League matches in 2015 to a full 38-match schedule, he'd have gotten Villa 6 points, had them score 6 goals, and allowed them to concede 76.
In case you've forgotten, Paul Lambert was bad.
Remember when he saved us from relegation? Remember when he got us to the FA Cup final? Remember the 1-6 loss to Southampton, the 0-1 to Burnley, and the [REDACTED] to Arsenal in the final when we all started to wonder if perhaps this wasn't the right move?
Yeah, Tim Sherwood was pretty bad, too.
His 2-[REDACTED] record in the FA Cup is buoyed by wins over Liverpool and West Brom, but it's hard to see past the [REDACTED]. In the League Cup, he managed a perfect, unblemished 2-0 record, with six goals scored and three allowed. Yay!
And over in the Premier League, his 2015 was actually, almost... competent? No, that's too kind. It wasn't "flaming pile of manure" bad. There we go. In 23 matches, he compiled a record of 6 wins, 2 draws, and 15 losses, for 20 points. Over a full season, that would work out to 33 points. That's relegation bad, but it's better than Villa as a whole over the course of 2015. Congrats, Timmy! You hurdled a line dug deeply into the ground.
Villa continued to leak goals under Sherwood, with 48 allowed in 28 total matches, and couldn't seem to get them back with only 38 in that same span.
Ah, the new boy. He's only had eight Premier League matches to look at, and they've not exactly been encouraging. 4 draws and 4 losses aren't good, and the fact that they represent an improvement (in the lens of the 2015-16 season) is a damning statement.
At this pace, over 38 matches, Garde would bring Villa to 19 points, with 24 goals scored and 67 allowed.
Holy goodness Aston Villa were wretched in 2015. I'm not sure that there is actually too much more to say. Usually I'd put some sort of caveat here reminding you that looking at a calendar year really doesn't tell us much in football, but I actually think this does. These dire numbers match precisely what my mind says Aston Villa are right now. In fact, they may be a bit of an improvement over the reality of the 2015-16 season.
We're almost certainly going to spend a part of 2016 in the Championship, and it's mostly due to a cancer that began to metastasize in 2015, though one that had been around for years before.
Let's hope that, whatever league Villa are in, the 2016 edition of this will be rosier.