Palace Preview & Woeful Wycombe – #avfc #cpfc #chairboys – Read Here:

It’s that time of year again.  Freezing cold, “must win” & an under the lights fixture at Villa Park.  The only difference this time is that unless Villa can mount an immediate and unprecedented resurgence, we are all but DOOMED.

Aston Villa (v) Crystal Palace (Kick Off 7:45pm)

Crystal Palace represent, annoyingly, exactly the type of approach that Villa have failed to adopt on a year by year basis.  Prudent acquisitions of proven Premier League players, retaining decent seasoned campaigners and crucially moving on those who don’t cut the mustard.  Also, whilst not overly likeable, Pardew has shown again that within him lurks an astute football manager.

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Palace come to Villa Park in good shape and will be looking to solidify a top seven position.  Combined with their strength across the park and options up front, it makes for a difficult outlook for us.  Looking across a shaky Villa backline, weak midfield and impotent attack, our ability to oppose & disrupt the visitors looks limited.

It will be interesting to see what combination of defenders we opt for & indeed it has reached the realms where a goalkeeping change isn’t so unlikely.  Midfield is a big area where the game will be decided, we lack strength, stamina and composure.  It would be a great time to find some.

Our attack will hopefully be bolstered by the return of Ayew, with Gestede surely making way.  Rudy has passed the point of no return for many, offering so little to a team in need of goals & craft.  Forgotten man Libor Kozak is again a logical figure to try, but having sat out Wycombe despite Gestede’s inept showing, it is anyone’s guess who will start.

At best, on a cold, wet night the best we might hope for is a draw.  Obviously this is not nearly enough, but may arrest a worrying decline in form, if that indeed were still possible.

Wycombe Woe & Infighting

Wycombe (1) v (1) Aston Villa (FA Cup 3rd Round)

I couldn’t bring myself to write anything that hadn’t already been said after yet another humiliating result Saturday.  After taking the lead through a Micah Richards strike, our performance once again reduced to farce.

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We lacked the killer instinct to capitalise upon our lead.  Too many of our players looked disinterested and as was astutely observed by the fan who spoke to Richards on the touchline – there was no “passion”.

Richards, to his credit, held a difficult and unwinnable conversation.  Whilst others in the squad played out the game with zero intent and others behaved childishly on the bench, he stood up and was counted.  Our captain is completely in the minority in a squad of has beens, never weres and abject failures.

Garde also looked like a man now hemorrhaging support and ideas.  There are public outings of individual failings, disregarded orders & a growing concern about his isolation from the board that appointed him.  The divorce proceedings may already be in motion barely after the honeymoon has finished.

The season was already and unparalleled disaster.  Which is not an overstatement.  Record after record has fallen and we lie on course to be relegated in an era defining fashion.  Our failure to beat Wycombe is just another grain of sand building into a beach of failure.

I truly feel we are now entering the arena of the unknown.  We have a disgruntled manager and a fanbase that is together on the need for change but with no means of doing so effectively.  We have a squad with very few who look salvageable, a plethora of failed investments, a missing owner, a politician as CEO & apathy to our plight.

The prospect of a reply appeals about as much as trying to sort the mess out.  The reward for the victor in facing Manchester City appeals even less.  One wonders where this will possibly end.

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