Preview: Aston Villa (v) Southampton – Agbonlahor & Okore banished & bonkers Lerner statement.

It has been another ridiculous week.  In fact, football is now so far off the agenda at Villa Park that those who are still following our games this term, could be forgiven for forgetting.

It has been a week where Gabby Agbonlahor is suspended for the second time this season, for his latest extra-curricular infractions.  Choosing to get as high as a kite on laughing gas as Villa were relegated perhaps wasn’t his finest life decision.

Oh, and both of our most recent additions to the board room, former head of the Bank of England Mervyn King & former head of the FA David Bernstein resigned.  Both, citing untenable positions in respect of owner Randy Lerner.

Then it emerged that Jores Okore, our promising if injury prone Danish international centre half refused to take up a place on the bench against Bournemouth.  He now finds himself playing with the youth team for the rest of the season.  He can presumably keep Charles N’Zogbia company.

And then came the hilarious and baffling statement from Randy Lerner;

“A nagging sense of inevitability set in against Leicester City despite the late lead we enjoyed. Can’t say why although I doubt I’m alone…

How many seasons after all can one hold on and hope to slide through? That is not Aston Villa. That kind of desperate existence is totally unacceptable, unbearable and totally incompatible with Villa’s glorious past. That is not what, or why, I looked to get involved back then and it is why I’ve looked for some time to make a change. I can say certainly in good faith that I have tried to sell since my May 2014 announcement and put our beloved club in better suited hands – but that hasn’t happened.

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I write to Villa supporters to make clear that this relegation lies at my feet and no one else’s. And because I believe in Aston Villa and know it will come back stronger and more able, with love and care for the community it serves, with the edge and attitude it must have to represent our history and tradition. Memories of Acorns on the shirt, and Ashley Young scoring a late winner against Everton still romantically nourish me. I know Villa will return better, stronger.

I will continue to try to put the club into worthy hands as I have, and also do my best to position Villa for the quickest possible return to its rightful place among England’s elite.

R Lerner”

Highlights for me include a long overdue admission of guilt (that no-one really needed or thought otherwise), a bizarre reference to being “romantically nourished” by an Ashley Young goal & nonsense about putting the club back where it belongs.

It will sit as another example that not only has Randy Lerner been incredibly damaging upon Aston Villa, but that he comes across as really rather odd.  The sooner he sells the better.

Preview:

Southampton’s roller-coaster before their Premier League return could be a scary prediction for how life may yet turn out at Villa Park.  Having crashed out the top flight, they struggled financially and ended up rebuilding from League 1.  It’s not so far fetched in reality.

Whilst this certainly isn’t something that appeals on paper, nobody could argue that Saints are now a well run and competitive football club.  

Since their return they have bought and developed decent footballers, many of who have been poached by “big” clubs.  Whilst the poaching isn’t something that desirable, it would be nice to have a crop of youngsters to bring on and compliment with clever purchasing.

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They have also made significant calls in respect of managers.  Few will forget them ditching Nigel Adkins in favour of Mauricio Pochettino.  They now have Koemann, who despite having lost players as a matter of routine, has kept Southampton a strong and ever changing unit.

Southampton come to Villa Park in decent form, 7th overall in the form table, and are steady away from home (2 wins, draws, defeats from 6).  Draws away at Everton and Arsenal impress as well as a win at The Britannia.  Their only blots was a surprise defeat at Bournemouth and the less so surprising loss at The King Power stadium to Leicester.

Villa couldn’t be in any worse shape.

On a 9 straight losing streak, off field turmoil and literally unable to field an 11 that can compete on any level.  There are more protests planned for during the game and a poor attendance is reasonable to anticipate.

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The reluctance of caretaker manager Eric Black to mix it up with younger players continues to frustrate & if he overlooks fringe players again in favour of Villa’s failed “stars”, it would be a missed opportunity.

Over 90 minutes Saints should find the openings they need.  Tin hats at the ready.

Prediction: 2-0 to Southampton.

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