Happy New Year folks, and welcome back to Don't look back in anger. You know what, it might actually be time to start looking back in anger soon. Crazy times.
Fun fact: Aston Villa haven't actually won a game since I've started writing these pieces. Yeesh.
Before we start getting ahead of ourselves, we have an FA Cup third round clash with Wycombe Wanderers to contend with first. The inquest can wait. Anyways, the last time Villa played Wycombe in a competitive game was back in a 2005 League Cup clash. Villa went 3-1 down in the first half but bounced back to win 8-3. Steven Davis, Gareth Barry and James Milner netted twice, Milan Baros and an own goal helped Villa to the win. This wasn't the last time the two sides met though.
The last time we met
After a brief tour of Germany, Paul Lambert's Aston Villa returned to home soil for a 2013 pre season friendly at Wycombe's Adams Park, the venue for this season's clash. The friendly saw a first half Villa lineup containing many current first team players, though they went into the break 2-1 down, despite a rare Matt Lowton goal.
Then 17 year old Jack Grealish impressed, linking up well with Andi Weimann and Jordan Bowery. Fellow youngsters Jed Steer, Janoi Donacien, Nathan Baker and Gary Gardner also made some of their first senior starts in claret and blue that day. It was Ashley Westwood however that provided the equaliser, scoring from a direct free kick. Was this part of the reason that Westy started taking Villa set pieces? If so, a terrible mistake was born this day.
Do we want to win?
Aston Villa haven't won in quite a while. So it may seem like a no brainer that a win against League Two Wycombe is a must, but I'm not so sure. Team morale is probably at an all time low, and I'm not convinced that a win over Wycombe will do anything to change that.
Last season, Villa went on an incredible cup run, reaching the final. A win would have given the team European football this season, which obviously would have made this year totally different. Now, if Villa were to do the unthinkable and win the cup this year, next season would end in disaster. See, Aston Villa are going to get relegated, and most of Villa's players have no experience of a 46 game season. Add in the six games (minimum) of a European campaign, and the team will be too tired to make an impact in either competition. This is exactly what happened with Wigan Athletic. Two seasons after winning the FA Cup, Wigan Athletic were relegated to League One.
Obviously, Villa are a long way away from the final, but to all intents and purposes, the FA Cup is a pointless distraction for Aston Villa this season. It would be in the club's best interests to focus on the car crash that is Aston Villa's Premiership season.