There are always points in seasons where you can confidently predict roughly how the things will pan out. Our league position and form point firmly towards relegation.
But yesterday’s performance against one of the Premier Leagues most organised out fits offers a glimmer of hope. But is hope enough?
With that said, the games are now also starting to look tougher, with the realistically winnable ones looking few and far between. If we are to right the ship we must start sooner rather than later.
Villa’s showing yesterday was as promising as it was fraught with defensive frailties which are the continued root cause of our worrying slide.
Going forward I firmly stand by my frequent statements that we can terrify teams if we put our minds to it. In Benteke we possess a powerful, clinical young striker. He is direct and makes absolutely no mistake when on song. The Belgian is really growing, and demonstrated it again with a deserved brace.
His first within two minutes showed all these attributes, beating Heitinga and Howard with ease. The second was a fine header after good teamwork to put us 3-1 up on the hour. The 7m international had done his bit.
His goals were either side of Anichebe’s leveller and Agbonlahor’s decent header.
Villa played well in the counter but we should be under no illusions that Everton were always in the game and pressing. I take nothing away from them as they battled for their point, as we will now have to every week.
Lets look at their goals.
For the first Clark allowed himself to get too tight and was rolled by the powerful Anichebe. Even before Alan Hansan’s MOTD dissection, any Villa fan would have told you that. Clark is the more experienced of our youngsters. In greater form he might have been better positioned or managed a block. Instead we conceded from a defendable position. Not good enough.
The second to bring the tie back to 3-2 marked the point where the inevitable loomed. The defending was chaotic. As Fellaini was allowed to drift across the box, exchange passes and slot in, we all knew what was on the cards in our hearts. Our captain Ron Vlaar looked very much at sea. Also; not good enough.
And Vlaar gets special mention for the Everton equaliser. For the second time in recent weeks its been his man to nod in from a corner. His failure is bad enough, but our collective inability to defend such a standard fixture of a football match defies all logic.
In the 93rd minute, winning away, with 3 truly vital points in the bag , you do anything to get on the end of the ball. Instead Fellaini didn’t even need to jump as he directed in. For all Richard Dunne’s faults he would by hook or crook, put something on it. We miss such natural ability, experience and readers of the game.
Objectively a point away at Everton is acceptable. But, to be in the position we are, with 3 points in the bag, a draw falls way short.
Lambert looked a broken man on the touchline. Not because of that one goal, but because he knows that two points which could make or break the football club have been lost.
The press and fan friendly rhetoric afterwards is standard fare. It doesn’t take a body language expert to read his look of despair when the ball hit the net. We are staring down the barrel, and he knows we cannot afford to surrender points like this.
Up next comes another must win against West Ham before scary fixtures against Arsenal and Man City. Looking at the results and run, anything short of a win against The Hammers will likely see us foot the table. That’s not to be confused with negativity, just reality.
Astonishing times at Villa Park indeed. Where will this end?