After the inevitable 3-0 dismantling at Villa Park from Manchester United, Aston Villa are all but relegated – whilst mathematically it is still a possibility that Dean Smith’s men avoid the drop, it’s looking increasingly more likely that Villa will be making a return to the Championship sooner rather than later.
I’d be reluctant to say that Villa were on top before conceding the scandalous penalty, yet Villa had created chances in the form of a Jack Grealish volley and Trezeguet hitting the outside of the post. In classic Villa fashion, their heads dropped once Bruno Fernandes deceived referee John Moss – we were unable to recover from this.
Despite putting up a reasonable fight in the opening twenty minutes, as soon as a disgraceful and controversial decision goes against you there are two ways you can respond; Either by using the decision to motivate yourself or alternatively, lose all confidence.
Unfortunately for Villa there doesn’t appear to be a clear leader, who can galvanise the squad when decisions such as this go against you.
If you’ve been keeping up to date with my previews here for FansBet, you’d be aware that I’ve somehow maintained a surprising amount of optimism in regards to Villa avoiding the drop since project restart.
However, with only four games left, and three wins realistically needed to keep Villa up (considering both Watford and West Ham have 34 points), it looks near impossible for Villa to amass such a points total.
Villa will host Crystal Palace at an empty Villa Park, as the Eagles come into the game deep in a rut, after being beaten in their previous four games. Which can only mean one thing… a Crystal Palace win.
Villa were robbed by another controversial VAR decision that ruled out Henri Lansbury’s goal in the reverse fixture at Selhurst Park – I hope this incident is still fresh in Villa’s mind and can prove my previous statement in regards to lacking a leadership figure wrong.
It’s important that Villa start on the front foot and arrive with the clinical edge that has been lacking in previous games against Liverpool and Manchester United. Stupid errors such as Mings’ dispossession by Martial must be eradicated if Villa stand a chance against Palace.
I want to see Smith be proactive with his substitutes, instead of waiting till we’ve conceded to make a change or till the 70th minute – bring players on early to change the game, keep things fresh in the midfield – show you haven’t given up.
Far too much impetus has been placed on Grealish and McGinn’s shoulders to keep Villa in this division, which is quite the weight to carry – considering McGinn is barely fit at the moment.
Teams like Watford have put in big team performances and managed to get points on the board, with some good fortune – beating Newcastle has given the Hornet’s an important three points as they aim to avoid the drop.
I’m a firm believer that you make your own luck, if a galvanised squad returns to Villa Park full of bottle, ready to battle can beat this struggling Palace team. Given Villa’s current form, it would take quite the turn around to get the full three points available.
I’m going for a 1-1 draw, with goals coming from Jack Grealish and Christian Benteke. In a game where chances will be worth their weight in gold, it’s important that Villa turn up and take their chances as they come.
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