With two games and two losses, the Villans’ start to the season could not have been any worse. Suddenly, Saturday’s home game against Rotherham United becomes an absolute must win one for a number of reasons.
Fans have had to wait much longer than we would have liked to be put out of our misery and actually see a win. It seems we have picked up where we left off on our competitive losing streak in May.
This weekend offers the boys in claret and blue another chance, something I fear many of the players are already running out of, to really send a message to the fans and to their opponents in this new league.
With no disrespect intended to Rotherham United fans, if you asked someone with even a loose grasp of the game to predict which team will win, on name alone, 99 per cent would say Aston Villa. If only it were this easy… We need look no further back than Wednesday night’s result against Luton Town to remind ourselves that theory and practice are very different when it comes to Aston Villa.
Rotherham United’s players have played in this league before and will be under less pressure. We should be helped by their mid-week loss and their throwing away a two-goal lead last weekend yet there is no doubt this game won’t be as easy at it seems on paper by any stretch. However, it is imperative that we win and banish some demons: a team like Aston Villa losing at our great, famous old ground to a team like Rotherham United in the league spells disaster. That is not the action of a healthy and promising team. I know there is a long way to go and ultimately no points at the weekend won’t be the deciding factor of our season but it is what it would symbolise – our fall from grace – that is so important.
With more new arrivals and departures expected, it is up to those players selected on Saturday to stop the slide. They have a chance to be part of the team that brings the good times back to Villa Park, a difficult mission that will not be helped by a home loss to Rotherham.
It doesn’t stop at Rotherham: Villa Park is one of the best stadia in the country and our players and fans have to make it impossible for opponents to play well there. The foundations of a great season will be built on a good home record. We haven’t had that for years and it is now more important than ever that we pick up points at home.
If we win, preferably comfortably, we will be sending the message to the other Championship sides that the Villans mean business once again. If we lose then it would suggest that Aston Villa Football Club is still an injured beast there for the taking.
The damage a loss on Saturday would do doesn’t bear thinking about. Let’s back the boys and, belatedly, get back to winning ways.