Preview: Arsenal (v) Aston Villa – The End Is Nigh.

This is it.  The last game of Villa’s dreadful 2015/2016 season; our ignominious relegation long since confirmed.

It’s rather apt that Arsenal are the team to wave us off.  Having

mercilessly

 drubbed us 4-0 in the FA Cup final last May, matters never improved from there.  Whilst our downward spiral has certainly been ongoing longer than a calendar year, the last twelve months will mark a particularly poor period in the clubs history.

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So what of our final Premier League game?

It’s no dead rubber that’s for sure.

Arsenal, perennial top four finishers may yet smell blood for second place.  Spurs face-off against relegated Newcastle to decide matters & a point will do (*superior goal difference).

Still, stranger things have happened.

As things stand, Arsenal require only a point to secure third spot.  Defeat to Villa (Contain your laughter) would run the risk of Man City leapfrogging them.  There is a +5 goal difference for City, but that’s about all which is in their favour after a poor final season under Pelligrini.

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Eric Black, our hard to like caretaker manager, will hopefully see sense and embed the youth into the side.

The promising young defender Toner has been a welcome, if solitary addition to a desperate squad.  Nobody would blame Black if he despatched Bacuna & Lescott in favour of a run out for fringe youth players.  As fans, we are predominantly beyond caring, but some changes would be welcomed.

Equally this applies to the likes of Grealish and Traore.  Relatively known quantities in our squad but whom we refuse to pick.  It is equally baffling how we’ve been unable to harness the creativity of Carles Gil in an eleven starved of creativity.

These words are perhaps futile, but hopefully we shall see a creative, youthful edge to at least give Arsenal something to think about.

The result, ultimately matters little.  In a run of 1 draw and 11 defeats, ‘hope’ of something miraculous is a dangerous concept.  Little, in truth, can or will be drawn from the encounter.  If we win, it’s a largely meaningless shock.  If we lose, few eyelids will bat.

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What this does do is draw a close to our grand clubs Premier League ever present status.  The world didn’t begin in 1992, but it will be a shame to be looking in for however long it takes to return.  If we are clever, just a season, but if we tread the path of Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday (et al)…who knows.

It’s a sad moment given our on-field performances and calamitous off-field incompetence.  However, I’m actually not teary in the slightest.

Perhaps it was the scenes on The Holte End during the Newcastle game; the passionate support and the determination that despite our clubs best efforts to dissuade us, we will support it.

Through thick, thin and thinner.  To the bitter end.  Roll on Saturday & the culmination of Randy Lerner’s genius at work.  Up The Villa.

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