Recently, it’s fair to say that we’ve taken our foot off the gas a little bit. Even though we got the win that everyone wanted against the Blues, performances have been lacklustre and we haven’t managed to retain our good form into the final stretch of the season. This is understandable. Villa haven’t had anything to play for and, unfortunately, our football has reflected this but with one game left – surely the players can be up for the fight again?
Brighton comes to Villa Park knowing that a win means the title, we come there knowing that the result will not affect anything around us. The fans, though, deserve one last good performance to end a pretty mixed bag of a season. Our last game against Blackburn was about as bad as it’s been and we deserved to lose. Another game like that just isn’t acceptable.
Players shouldn’t need to find any other motivation than playing in front of a large crowd at Villa Park, regardless of our league position. Just because this game doesn’t mean anything on paper, it should mean something to the players. Some of our new signings haven’t exactly set the world alight since arriving, so this should be one final opportunity to show the fans that they’ll be money well spent.
Scott Hogan, in Kodjia’s absence, is a prime example. He’s had a tough time since joining the club and a goal would really help him personally and would be great to see from a fan’s perspective. The effort has always been there from him, but as of yet, there has been no end product. I would love to see Hogan get on the scoresheet and push on from there next year.
A win isn’t exactly expected against such a good Brighton side, who will be fired up beyond belief, but we have the talent to cause them real problems. Failure to apply ourselves is, however, not acceptable. I know this is said a lot, but good games going into the end of the season are highly valuable. A win in the last game, when put alongside our scrappy win against Birmingham City, will mean that we can class ours a success.
Anything is an improvement from the horror show we witnessed at Ewood Park. A bit of fight and desire, anything to stop us coasting through such a ‘meaningless’ game. Our last game at Villa Park for a while, it needs to be respected by the players we put out.