Micah Richards took to social media after our game at Norwich to take ‘Match of the Day’ pundit Ian Wright to task over his critique of the Aston Villa captain on the show. At the time of writing, Ian Wright has yet to respond but the fact that Richards would take exception in the public domain to pretty fair analysis is in itself bizarre. I would think our players would be keeping low profiles after yet another spiritless display.
Although he has made a few errors, Richards is actually one of the players who comes out of this season so far with any credit, in my opinion. He hasn’t been flawless by any stretch but at least I get the feeling that it matters to him. However, he is also part of a wider problem at Aston Villa Football Club. A lot of talking goes on at B6 but there is seldom anyone who can back it up by walking the walk. Each week, the official website is filled with items containing various players talking about fighting or suggesting how we can get out of trouble. Unfortunately, football matches are won on the pitch and I don’t see much evidence that the spiel I hear or read coming out of the players’ mouths at this current time is being mirrored on the football pitch.
The West Ham United game was an exception as we deserved to win and played well for the majority of the match. The game at Carrow Road was unfortunately indicative of our entire season. We started off okay then switched off and let in a sloppy goal. From that point most players hid. When conceding first this season we have taken three points and we have only scored first in four games. Obviously, I know that any way you look at statistics we are going to look hopeless – most probably because we are – but I get the feeling that if we concede first then there is not a chance of us having what it takes to battle to win the game.
Of the players starting on a regular basis while Richards has been unavailable in recent weeks, Ayew is the only one playing like he wants to win and who seems like it hurts him when he doesn’t. There have been notable displays from Veretout recently but it’s Ayew who leads the way. He is unavailable for the Sunderland game through suspension. Can you see any of our other players taking the game to another fragile side? At this moment in time I cannot.
I feel sorry for Garde as he has inherited a mess but his tactics on Monday meant it was the first time that he has really annoyed me. The need for us to have at least one of Gil or Grealish on the pitch is obvious to me: we simply will not create enough chances without one of them present. The fact that in a game we absolutely had to win, Richardson was still playing as a left winger after sixty-three minutes whilst trailing 1-0 is something I will never understand. The former Fulham man would have looked out of place in that position in his prime, let alone now.
I don’t want to get on Garde’s back – and won’t. I’m concerned that another manager will be hounded out by the fans if this form continues. There is only so long you can keep blaming managers; we are rotten everywhere. Aston Villa is a broken club and a considerable number of the current players are not good enough whilst some also don’t want to win enough.
The time for the talking to be over passed some time ago. I am humiliated by our League position and I suspect that some of the players are too yet I am not seeing what I would expect to see from a bunch of players supposedly fighting for their Premier League lives. Too many of our players seem to throw in the towel and accept defeat too readily in games.
At this stage, being criticised by a pundit should be the least of our players’ concerns: the table doesn’t lie and few have been anywhere near good enough. If they had been, we would not be where we are.
Aston Villa Football Club needs to be cleansed from the very top to the very bottom.