A time for giving, a time for receiving

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Next month is a time for giving but will we see Aston Villa receive any gifts this Christmas?

As has been the case in recent seasons, our team has become one that other teams want to face, especially if they are going through tough patches. Charitable as ever, the Villans can be relied on to present opponents with three points. Instead of roaring like lions, our players often whimper and are shaky at the back when put under pressure, as we found out against Everton, Crystal Palace and against Manchester City last season. The Swans were on a bad run and confidence was low in their camp, but they still managed to walk away from B6 with the points, while stuttering Sunderland claimed a point despite their own well-documented issues.

We haven’t benefitted from another team’s misfortune. We haven’t benefitted from a defensive mishap. Teams do not fear coming to Villa Park but head there expecting a result. Managers have come in and have said that they want to make Villa Park a fortress. That grand plan hasn’t worked and Villa Park has become a place of capitulation; it seems the players are intimidated by playing in B6.

Watford’s Brummie bad-boy Troy Deeney has stated that he wants stick from the Holte End so he can have the opportunity to silence the home crowd. That comment sounds Agbonlahor-esque. However, there is more chance of Deeney following through his ‘threat’ of silencing the home crowd of than Agbonlahor having any influence on any game.

A defensive error may be a good present for the club, changing a goalless draw into a scrappy one goal win in a game that may be the deciding point in the season. Another good present fans hope for is a natural goal-scorer, a player who can score the goals needed to keep the club in the Premier League, just like Benteke did last season – and the season before. Charlie Austin’s name is being mentioned in the papers. He is a player who can get the goals but would he want to join the club? It is looking unlikely that Queens Park Rangers will return to the Premier League next season, even with Charlie Austin up front, but would Austin want to return to the Premier League to face another relegation battle?

Garde must push on. He must do all in his power to find a winning formula, home and away, as the club desperately needs to start picking up points. If the Villans do not manage that in the next few games, Christmas 2015 will not be filled with good cheer.

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