Despite being in a rotten position at the moment, Aston Villa’s draw against Southampton could perhaps be seen as a really positive result. Considering that we have only taken points off Bournemouth, Sunderland and Manchester City, Southampton was always going to be a welcome addition to that very short list. Perhaps it galls because we feel that we should be in the Saints’ position and not at the bottom of the table. I thought the lads played a very good game against the Saints and I was happy to see Lescott get his first goal for the club, as he hasn’t really settled in yet. I respect Garde for putting him in the starting line-up alongside Okore for the match. It shows more ambition than Sherwood did.

I feel we need to address the next game, which is against Arsenal.

It certainly doesn’t feel like the most wonderful time of the year at Aston Villa Football Club: the players are dismayed, the fans are down too and the board seems inactive. If the Villans get any sort of result against the Gunners it will only have a positive impact, bringing some much-needed festive cheer to everyone associated with the club. Having said that, we still need to be realistic. Our game against Arsenal on Sunday should not be one to get excited about. Arsene Wenger is trying to win the Premier League and has amazing players like Özil, Sánchez, Cech and last night’s hat-trick hero Giroud at his disposal therefore I don’t see this game as being important to the Villans. We shouldn’t be thinking that we can get something out of this game as it’s not our fight. At present, Wenger’s men are in a different league to Garde’s – or might as well be. Of course, I want the Villans to play well and to give the opposition a good game. We need to see signs of improvement from the lads, who are still not singing from the same hymn sheet.

I don’t like to expect to see my team defeated in any game but Wenger’s men are flying high and will arrive in Birmingham having already won one away game this week. A 0-3 win in Athens against Olympiakos, thanks to Giroud’s hat-trick, saw the Gunners claim a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League. In contrast, the Villans are without a win in their last eight home games and struggling to stay in the Premier League. I feel that we should temper our expectations as it is unlikely that our team will spring a surprise this Sunday. We should save those great expectations for the real fights in the games after this one, when we play Newcastle United, West Ham United and Norwich City.


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