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The Villa Week #8: Let the battle for the Premier League begin

TVW: Imagine being headbutted by a naked Tony Pulis

Ipswich Town v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Are you sure you’re capable of keeping up to date with Villa. To be blunt, I don’t think I am. I’m using this column as a learning exercise. Can James Rushton digest everything that happened to Villa in the last week? The answer - maybe, and this column is my test.

I would very much like to start off this column by talking about Aston Villa’s promotion hopes.

There.


This week in automatic promotion

As you know, Aston Villa are no longer getting promoted automatically from the Championship.

Last week I said this:

‘Unless Villa can mug Cardiff in the back streets of Birmingham, leaving a newly-toothless Neil Warnock speaking at the phantasms that have left him in the dust, then they aren’t getting that 2nd place position. It’s impossible. Don’t hit me.’

Cardiff, managed to sleepwalk into 2nd place after Fulham spent ninety minutes chasing ghosts at St Andrews.

Wha-, no, don’t reach for the reading glasses friend. You read that correctly! Birmingham City FC who have spent the season apparently ‘playing football’ actually played a bit of footy and beat Fulham.

They didn’t just beat Fulham, no. Fulham fell into disaster, they located a circle of hell in Birmingham and firmly slotted themselves into it. Birmingham brought the pain, for once.

So no. Villa have to do it the hard way and that means...

Middlesbrough

You can’t talk about Middlesbrough without talking about Tony Pulis.

Tony Pulis. He’ll get you Lynx Africa for Christmas and you’ll like it. He’s the uncle who promises to take you on cool adventures (your dad doesn’t), but never shows.

He’ll shower naked, unashamed of his sagging teats, wrinkled flesh and (possibly) wonky member. He’ll walk to you, naked, folding his arms. He doesn’t care. Look at it? That’s on you. You didn’t have to, but how could you not? It was a challenge. You lost. Pulis has nutted you. Why is this happening.

Aston Villa have to face an abusive step-father in the play-offs. Will your nice dad (Steve Bruce) be able to beat your shite step-dad (Tony Pulis)? Who knows. I’ve seen how this goes down though, and it ends with a brief roll around in the gravel, some gashed elbows and a make-up pint of bitter.

I think I’m forgetting something though...

Adama

Remember when that mad baptist bloke from America said that there was going to be a rapture and that it was definitely going to happen?

That semi-apocalyptic prophet is being mirrored by many a Villa fan. Adama? He’s going to dribble in a circle around Alan Hutton three times (3!) before turning James Chester inside out, giving John Terry heart palpitions, dipping over to the right just to play with Ahmed Elmohamady (like a bear, like a damned bear) before turning around, doing it all again and slotting a goal past Sam Johnstone.

Folks, this isn’t going to happen. Adama is a great footballer, but he’s only a footballer and there’s only so much damage that can be done.

The flip-side of this is those that don’t take Adama Traroe seriously enough. People like your dad (not Steve Bruce, your Actual Dad). “AH!”, He rages. “He’s a HEADLESS CHICKEN”, he screams. He crushes his can of Strongbow.

“THIS ISN’T FOOTBALL!”

He’s looking at you, it’s almost rhetorical though. No response is needed, or wanted. This is performance art. He’s searching for the remote. He wants to rewind the live football to that bit. That bit where a talented young’un had a bit of fun. He’s not deserved it. Not until he’s done red shift down the Jag plant. Four AM down the car assembly line? Then you can have fun.

He unpauses the football. You’ve missed three goals.

Traore? He’s very good. He’s not too good, but as usual, the right answer is going to be the one between ‘he’s going to kill us’ or ‘I think Peter Whittingham would show him a thing or two.’

What’s more, we can all appreciate how built Adama is. Don’t be jealous though. The world of Aston Villa has it’s own big lad:

Jesus Christ, yes we do.

So, yes Adama can run fast and ball hard. However, you’ve got nothing to fear...

It’s Lewis Grabban

Ipswich Town v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Yes it is.

#AVFC

Let us enjoy a momentary interlude to check in on a tweet in #AVFC world.

You know when you’re trying to run a Villa blog? When you ask if any new writers want to jump aboard? When some cheeky prick sends an application in and it’s some kind of joke?

I hunted for the identity of this person for the grand total of 30 minutes* and I was left gazumped. Out of all the millions of people clamouring to write for this esteemed blog, one person took it on themselves to make it a joke?

*I asked Daniel Raza if he did it and he said no so the search ended.

I’d have never guessed that the man sending that application in was Matt Lynch. The award-winning, camera-friendly Matt Lynch. Disgusting behaviour. Well, the cat’s out the bag now Matt. Erik Bakke propaganda is no light subject.

Neither is this...

Middlesbrough

We’ve got to put up with Tony Pulis twice in a week?

Villa Youth

The young ones are in play-off final action this weekend as they take on Brighton. Will we be covering it? You bet’cha,

Am I forgetting something?

Millwall

Ah, yes. That happened. A match in which we booted up FIFA, walked off to get the cans, forgot to play or pause the game and came back to a concluded match. Phew. The scoreline wasn’t embarrassing.

The week for Steve Bruce

Steve Bruce embiggens us all. During the bleakest moments of his life (Bruce lost his mom last week, and his father sadly passed away earlier this year), he’s been on the frontlines, guiding Villa.

During the darkness of it all, he’s been here.

Say what you want about his tactics, but the spirit of this man can’t be contained in a single measure. I’d run through a brick wall for him. Even showing up for his day job shows a tremendous amount of strength. Come what may at the end of the season, I’ll struggle to forget this.