Preston North: End for Di Matteo – Dreadful defeat sees Xia’s patience run out. The right decision.

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Preston was a dreadful result.  It was a woeful performance too.

5700 Villa fans witnessed in in person.  There’s talk of counselling being required to overcome what they endured.

The latest hapless 90 minutes appear to have sealed Roberto Di Matteo’s fate.  Rightly so, after an uninspiring & rudderless 11 league games that leave us contemplating a relegation battle in The Championship if left unchecked.

It’s a big call, but the right call.

The opening results have been unacceptable.  

They have also broadly been accompanied by performances which were incomprehensibly bad.  Had they been overseen by Sherwood, Lambert, Houllier, McLeish or Garde the same outcome would be warranted.

It’s important to frame this and to be clear.  

We have absolutely no right to turn up against anyone and believe they we have some God given right to win.  Many seasoned supporters wouldn’t align to that way of thinking anyway, but they are some out there.  This season requires effort, thought and putting a plan in action.

However to watch our club continue, despite solid investment and a new direction, not even manage to compete against the Preston North End’s of this world [With all due respect]?  To literally fail to mount a challenge over an entire game of football?  It’s as baffling as it is angering.  

And it hasn’t been limited to just one game.

Some may argue for more time.  A valid point to raise in an age of chop and change management.  To which this blog would ask; what have we seen to suggest that significant improvement looms under Di Matteo’s stewardship?

It has been mistake upon mistake.  Excuse followed by excuse.

Recurring late goals.  Team selections that Eric Black would be proud of.  Tactics that defy explanation.  And results, well, results that see us sitting precariously.

I don’t imagine many expected an all guns blazing, Championship storming season.  However, none would have expected us to only have a solitary win against Rotherham as the only successful afternoon on the calendar to date.

It’s not about stature or a divine right to win.  With our resources alone we should be better placed.  

New manager and a new owner aside, we have clear irrefutable advantage.  Only Aston Villa, with an ability to attract and significantly outspend all of it’s immediate competition [bar relegated sides] could manage to stagnate yet further.

In the context of the Preston defeat [a damning indictment of our promotion prospects condensed into ninety listless minutes alone] we saw all of our player and managerial shortcomings laid bare.

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Over-run in the opening moments, despite an “inspirational” video message from the owner, the players looked completely disorganised.  The norm by this seasons standards.

And we promptly trailed.

It would be deceitful to suggest a challenge was mounted to address this.  Westwood was dispossessed as if on an afternoons stroll and it was promptly 2-0.  Game over baby.

McCormack’s injury time penalty miss?  It would have been a consolation at best had the ball burst the net.

How many times can we revisit our lack of preparedness, game-plan or inability to learn from mistakes?  These are not attributes necessarily confined to RDM’s short reign either.

What has been striking over the opening eleven games has been how erratic we have been at the back.  Be it through a rookie keeper or a never present back-line.  It’s becoming as big a concern as last season despite apparently solid recruitment.

Compound this with a midfield that required complete over-haul, still repeatedly featuring the terribly limited Ashley Westwood.  

And what of Jedinak? A solid mainstay at Palace, has suddenly become awful?! Overnight? What is the catalyst for that I wonder?

And the strikers?

A transfer policy of scouring the division for endless goals has somehow resulted in the decision to pick them all at once.  Again, only Villa could concoct a system which stifles them.  An inane and amateurish approach to managing a squad of proven, predatory goalscorers.

The Preston loss, therefore, encapsulated it all.

If, as reported in The TelegraphDi Matteo is shown the door, Villa once more lurch into the unknown.

The unknown, is marginally better than the inevitable, which under the Italian, was playing out before our eyes.  

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The Villa Underground isn’t one for calling for the heads of manager’s ordinarily.  Paul Lambert for instance, dissected though he was on these pages, was given more than adequate time.

Sometimes though, it just isn’t going to work out.  

Di Matteo looked very much out of his depth for what Aston Villa require & by dealing with the problem swiftly, it enables us to avoid a lost season. Or worse.

Do we expect immediate promotion after last season?  Probably not.  But we do expect to give it a damn good go at the very least.

It’s suddenly less about getting back to the Premier League, rather, ensuring that matters don’t become a whole lot worse.

Up The Villa.

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