In a season of awful performances, this was up there.
No fight, no heart, no interest and no chance of a result.
It was depressing enough ahead of kick off. The conveniently timed illness of Gabby Agbonlahor was compounded by a disappointing team selection from interim boss Eric Black.
Whilst most Villa fans will concede that Black doesn’t have a great deal to pick from amongst the regular squad, the refusal of so many in charge to blood youngsters is baffling.
There is an argument for protecting them from the toxic environment at Villa Park and from the current malaise, but this is at best a side debate.
What better place than the Premier League as a sandbox when there’s nothing left riding on our fixtures. Other sides still have places to play for, whilst our existing XI has no future. We are missing a chance at finding out who might be the bright sparks in the academy.
Why bother with Richardson, Bacuna or Guzan? We might as well try something new than this dross.
The game itself was frighteningly similar to our recent runs of defeats. It has firmly become a recurring nightmare.
Tepid, disinterested and impotent play; an opposition can sooner or later rely upon us imploding.
And so it was again.
For the third straight home game, Villa conceded in first half injury time. Heads in the dressing room perhaps, but simply not good enough at any level. It was a neat move, that shouldn’t have been allowed at this stage of the half.
The second half saw Villa concede an awful second (see above, top) which sealed the fixture. After that it was even more of a training game than it was before.
Jordan Ayew finished after a neat move for his almost patented consolation goal, but otherwise was poorly serviced and anonymous. Ayew is one of very few whom we would consider worth keeping, but he needs much more quality around him.
All in all this result pretty much confirms our relegation. In typical modern Villa style, it was almost met with a shrug from the players and club at large. Save for a decision to begin engaging a fan websites before the game & “fan focus group” for the “new” badge, the club are a great distance from retrieving the trust of those who care for it most.
The protests continue, the 31,000 attendance (misleadingly counting thousands of absent season ticket holders) and vocal jeering of players throughout tells its own story.
The new hierarchy of Aston Villa is taking steps to get the right people in place, but nothing can be done to arrest an embarrassing and cataclysmic slide into The Championship. A thankless, difficult division, which at present we look ill-equipped to navigate at any level.
Too many players have let us down. Too few feel the need to show effort or earn their handsome wages. Even fewer deserve their places on the pitch come August.
We absolutely cannot afford to play in the fashion we are next season, or it will be even more painful than this.