Report: Villa (0) v (4) Man City – Alarming defeat highlights all that is wrong at Villa Park.

A defeat to Manchester City was no great surprise & confirms a swift exit from the FA Cup where we reached the final last season.

More concerning, was the evidence of how poor a football club we have become.

It was a stark reminder that under five years of abysmal leadership, we have conspired to construct a side capable of relegating Aston Villa & of humiliating itself at home.

City traveled in large numbers & must have stared back at a near empty Villa Park in bemusement and amusement.  It is an embarrassment to see our fine ground a sea of empty seats, the reasons for which are utterly lost upon the hierarchy of Aston Villa football club.

Two great historic football teams, in the prestige cup competition, and it was a statement from the home support.   For the vast majority of Villa fans, their will has been broken & it has now reached the stage where absence in visible numbers has become necessary.  The overlooked fact yesterday was how many season ticket holders stayed away.

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As mentioned above, a defeat to opposition such as City is of no great surprise, but the manner in which defeats are inflicted is key.  Our performance was amateurish, our effort questionable & it is now dawning that very very few faces within the entire squad actually care.  

In an age of players earning vast fortunes, perhaps I shouldn’t still be shocked, but I cannot think of a single player at the club who would run through a wall for the team.  That is greatly concerning, we have a group who turn out without an apparent emotion or bother as to the fate of their employer & our historic club.

Many fans had barely placed a buttock on their seats as the first City goal hit the back of the net.  A corner was defended indecisively & Iheanacho hooked the ball in for the first City goal in what would become a straightforward hat trick.

The second goal came from a foul by Bacuna on Sterling in the box.  There were mumbles that it wasn’t a penalty within the ground, but having seen it a second time on the TV it was a clumsy foul by Bacuna & a spot kick all day long.  It marked just another example of the lunatic decision to persevere with Bacuna at fullback when all the evidence has shown it’s a repeated disaster.

Much was made about our long periods of possession in the first half; all pointless.  As we have seen in recent weeks under Garde’s regime, we hold the ball better but are inept at creating anything meaningful from it.  It has worrying similarities to how Lambert badly lost his way at Villa & is not a style that will be fit for purpose in The Championship.

Owing to this lack of cutting edge there was an opportunity to make changes at half time, but again Garde restricted himself to a bench of extremely defense minded players.  As it happened, there were no changes until Westwood was swapped for Okore as the second half panned out.  Ineffectual & broadly pointless again.

Further embarrassment followed as Agbonlahor entered the fray for the first time since a humiliating performance at White Hart Lane.  It underlined just how few options Garde has & the repeated bizarre recalls for players who have long since expired their use by date.

Aside from a speculative drive from Gana & a decent free kick from Gil, Villa never, ever looked like threatening City.  The hurtful reality was that we could barely compete, aimlessly squaring the ball in midfield without the invention or quality to craft anything noteworthy.

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Nobody who watches as much football as we do loses much sleep about defeats, they are part and parcel of football, but at least try…is it so much to ask?

Then came the meltdown.

Inexplicably Gana played a suicidal ball into the path of

Iheanacho, putting him one on one with Guzan.  Guzan, retreated, wrongly in my view, permitting

Iheanacho a free run and clinical finish on goal.  He will not score an easier hat-trick.

Moments later Gana was slow to react to a straightforward ball to feet which was intercepted by City,

Iheanacho was unlucky to not score his fourth with an overhead kick, before Sterling dispatched the loose ball beyond Guzan.

If a half empty stadium at kick off wasn’t enough of a statement to the clubs board, then it’s desertion with a quarter of the game remaining should have been.  Those I’ve spoke to had either never left a game in their time following Villa, or, had never done so quite so early.  Damning.

The club has now totally disenfranchised itself from the very people at its core; the fans.  It has also lost sight of it’s reason for being.  We are a football club without the first clue of what that actually means.  Aston Villa, founders of the game, without an ounce of football knowledge at the helm; staggering.

Fans are treated with contempt by an absent owner, who has reduced a massive footballing institution to a figure of humiliation.  Randy Lerner’s incompetence is well documented, but his cowardice at staying away from Villa Park less so.  It is time that Lerner stepped into the light and made to respond directly to the people his actions have affected.  

Randy; Stop hiding in America, come and talk, rationally, like a grown up.  Stop acting like a spoiled child and hoping that someone else will sort out the mess and take the flak.  The silence condemns you, your inaction is telling but your cowardice is reflective of who you are as a man.  This is a situation all of your creation: answer for it.

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And then, what of the players we have?

It alarmed me how few chased, put in the necessary effort or seemed remotely interested.  As fans who follow our teams religiously, you know when players care, be it for the shirt or at the very least their own profession pride.  All I see is a group of individuals, with some prospects amongst them, but without any urgency or awareness of the demise of Aston Villa.

I was also alarmed by our collective apathy as fans.  We are resigned to this, understandably so.  Eroded by years of under-achievement, dilution of our status in English football & by the humiliation that our club has seen fit to reap upon us.  Our owner and the board have completely overseen this process with an almost assassin like approach; all that is left is to make the kill.

Up next is a trip to West Ham this Tuesday night, where we cannot dare perform like we did against City.

See the Man City goals here.

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