November 2, 2015. Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Aston Villa
Earlier in the day, Aston Villa appointed Remi Garde as their new manager. The Frenchman took to his seat in the stand, beside Tom Fox, and watched Aston Villa capitulate.
Three minutes in, Mousa Dembele made a mockery of Ciaran Clark before scoring from a tight angle. Farcical defending, and the contest was over, after just three minutes. For the remainder of the half, Villa held on, continued to exist within the contest, not threatening to change the tide however. Then Dele Alli scored on the brink of half time, and thus proved that for Aston Villa, resistance was futile.
In the second half, Spurs took their feet away from the accelerator. The day was done, right? And bigger, tougher challenges were ahead. And then a moment of Jordan Ayew magic happened. Out of nowhere, Villa's Ghanaian dangerman scored a wonderful goal, and Spurs became rattled. It's wasn't a particularly skilled offensive assault, but Aston Villa gave it a go. Leandro Bacuna hit the post, but Villa could not score. Tottenham countered, and Harry Kane scored a third, and Aston Villa lost once again.
March 13, 2016. Aston Villa 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Okay, the manager was new, and the lineup was pretty different, but performance wise, it was same old same old. And we've now reached the point where it has become too late to turn things around.
Sure, there was no goal conceded in the third minute, but there was a goal three minutes in to the second half. Which just shows that Villa start sluggishly, and just never seem to recover. What's worse, the defence just switched off, which allowed Harry Kane his second.
As for Kane's first, just like in November, it came on the brink of half time, showing that once again, Villa fall asleep and give up too quickly. This has been a problem for most of the season, and with nothing to motivate them, this won't change anytime soon.
But despite being useless Aston Villa should've taken a point yesterday. But failed to do so thanks to low confidence, sub standard players, and sheer incompetence. There were similarities to November here too. Jordan Ayew finally switched on late in the game, and his mazy dribble set Rudy Gestede up for an easy finish. Gestede smashed the ball against the bar from close range. Not good enough. Seconds later, Joleon Lescott unmarked at the back post, an easy chance for a Premier League player. Lescott hit the post. Two chances missed in quick succession, and Villa failed to pick up another point.
And that's where Aston Villa have gone wrong this season, in their inability to pick up those points that they perhaps didn't deserve. Those ugly games where one team needed to grind out a result. Any game that needed a fight to win, Villa lost. The two wins under Remi Garde? Crystal Palace had an off day, and their season was in the process of falling apart. Norwich offered even less of a fight. Can we honestly attribute either result to Villa being the better side? I'm unconvinced.
Unconvinced, that's how I sum up Remi Garde's reign. Granted, behind the scenes happenings mean that his job was 100% harder than we see on TV, but I've come to the conclusion that he isn't the man for the job.
The man seems demoralised, and I don't blame him. I disagree with the idea that he's failing because he isn't an English manager who knows the division, but Garde is in over his head, and Tom Fox launched the lifeboat without him.
So what should we do? I can't answer that, because I don't know. With the amount of money that Randy Lerner is losing on the club, I'm not sure that he'll bite the bullet and pay for another managerial sacking. And if that doesn't happen, I can't see any progress being made.