It’s the beginning! (Of the end) – Norwich (2) v (0) Villa – #avfc #ncfc

It really comes to something when you’re hoping for a draw at 80 minutes, knowing it’s not enough anyway…and the opposition is Norwich.

This latest debacle shows the true extent of our slide towards the trap door. This season has all of the hallmarks now of a disastrous, cringe worthy farewell tour.

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The puzzle with our side under Garde is that we often see glimpses of a plan, only to promptly concede and completely lose our way. Norwich was no exception.

Norwich looked as bad as similar sides we have faced around us in the table recently. There were certainly weaknesses to be exploited. However, wasted early chances (Ayew the guilty party) were punished on cue.

After headless suicidal defending, the ball was chipped effortlessly across to Howsen who volleyed past Guzan with ease. The Villa defence watched, static, from their deckchairs…

And once again, we never looked like mustering anything like a fightback. The repeated talk of “spirit” therefore mystifies me. I see improvement in certain individuals, but a team ethic with some fight at its core? This eludes me.

What I do see is what we already know. Sinclair is painfully erratic to render him virtually useless. Gana has quality and headless chicken in equal measure. Veretout has great technique but fades badly on the hour mark. Our defence is atrocious.

I love triers, I cannot blame a player who puts effort in, but we have a few of these figures. Hutton, runs, gives his best, but is simply not fit for protecting crosses or indeed, delivering them. Bacuna, though out of position, does inexplicable things no professional should do. Micah Richards is fast approaching this territory; lots of effort, but some very questionable returns for it. I like the guy, but I also see the reasons why he found his way to Villa Park rather than headier heights last summer.

My other worry is our complete lack of urgency to rectify going behind. It was ponderous, lethargic & aimless for long periods. All of the positive moves we put together in the opening exchanges we stopped doing. Why?

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After the break it continued. Garde introduced Adama, who whilst exciting to the eye is very raw. However, he put in more crosses of quality in 15 minutes than many others have in their Villa careers. It baffles that we are unable to harness his quality in anything other than a last desperate throw of the dice.

The same applies to Gestede. When used properly and playing to his attributes, he carries a threat. But when thrown on in the mere hope of something occurring, as at Carrow Road, you will achieve nothing, as we did.

The annoying part is that Norwich had to do so little for their victory. They were organised, but offered no real quality. It was a case of turning up and waiting for Villa to self harm.

The 2nd goal conceded, which I will put down to us chasing the game (ha..ha…), was again all too easy.

I felt we needed to get at least 4 points from West Ham and Norwich. A solitary point just isn’t nearly enough, which is of course stating the blindingly obvious. Our next fixture away at Sunderland requires nothing less than maximum points.

This may restore false hope at least.

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