We watched our final Premier League game of the season on Sunday, which was a tepid affair at Villa Park involving the already relegated Burnley.
When the Clarets took a somewhat fortunate lead, the Villa boys never really looked like getting back into the game and it seemed as if their minds were already on the Wembley encounter that is coming up on Saturday.
On a personal note, it was a disappointing way to sign off the season, mainly because, in my infinite wisdom, I managed to book to go on holiday the day before the final. I have passed my ticket to my delighted grandfather, who was there when the Villans last lifted the FA Cup in 1957 and who will hopefully prove to be a living lucky charm.
Overall, our performance in the Premier League this season has not been good enough. Tim Sherwood knows this and I have every faith that he will improve things next season. A club of Aston Villa’s stature really should not be finishing in seventeenth place or averaging just one point per game. The last two games will have told Sherwood exactly what he needs to know.
The spine of a good team is there: Fabian Delph gives us a top quality focal point to build around and if we somehow hold on to Christian Benteke we have a leading striker to call on.
In my opinion, it is the defence that needs some serious work over the summer, starting with the goalkeeper. It is obvious that Sherwood doesn’t rate Brad Guzan after he handed Jed Steer his first start in the Premier League on Sunday and Shay Given is no spring chicken. I would really like to see Sherwood trying to get Tom Heaton from Burnley. He was outstanding at Villa Park and is fully deserving of his place in the England squad.
We could also do with a top quality left back, as I don’t see Joe Bennett coming back and being the answer to our defensive woes.
An experienced centre half to guide Clark and Okore would be a huge boost. Vlaar isn’t the player he was two seasons ago and if he leaves, which now appears unlikely, I don’t think he will be a huge loss.
The potential Benteke replacement carries a lot of significance too. Charlie Austin, as journalists keep mentioning, seems to be the top choice at present. I would be happy with this signing: he has got to have something about him to have scored seventeen goals in a team that lacked any real quality.
Before we get bogged down by talk of transfers and takeovers, we have the FA Cup final to win. To all those making the journey, have a safe journey, a great day and roar the boys to victory!