Playoff Lottery – Embrace and Enjoy

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Terry has bags of experience.

Que Sera Sera,
Whatever will be, will be,
We’re going to …

Yes, there’s a distinct possibility that Aston Villa could end their season with a trip to Wembley and the infamous song has started to do the rounds.

46 games are done and dusted and the fact is you finish where you deserve to.

Credit where credits due, Wolves have cruised it and grudgingly I have to say Neil Warnock has achieved something special with Cardiff City.

Our goal at the start of the season was promotion. For sure, automatic was the goal, but ultimately promotion is promotion and right now Villa have as much of a chance as the other three teams that make up the prospective drama of the playoffs.

Expectations aside, it’s been a roller coaster of a season that in all honesty I’ve enjoyed more than many of the previous 25 I’ve been to.

The last three or so seasons in the Premier League offered nothing at all. The football was dreadful, the results were poor on the whole and relegation seemed inevitable rather than avoidable.

I visited the training ground during the Lerner era, post O’Neill and the signs were all there. Players not interacting with each other not to mention the fans of all ages.

Going down in the manner we did made it easier to take than a dramatic last day defeat but it wasn’t to get much better.

Roberto Di Matteo was appointed and the results continued to nosedive. A team dubbed second favourites to be promoted behind Newcastle quickly found themselves close to the relegation zone and a possible second successive drop.

Look at Sunderland. It could quite conceivably have been us. Let that sink in for a moment.

Fast forward to now. Three games from promotion.

Albert Adomah scored vs Wolves

The social media world has continued to be pretty negative throughout a season in which we’ve seen 24 league wins and 72 goals scored. After a poor December we saw a run of 10 wins in 12 games something I can’t remember seeing before and box office wins over Wolves (4-1) and Bristol City (5-0) caught the eye.

We also saw wins at home against Cardiff, Fulham and an away win against Middlesbrough.

Yet this week all I seem to have read is people arguing over why Fulham, Middlesbrough and Derby are all teams we should avoid.

Why a loss at Millwall signals negative tactics from Bruce etc.

Firstly, the semi-final is two legs. We beat Middlesbrough away after a shocking month in December and drew with them 0-0 at home early on in the season when both sides were finding out about themselves as a team.

Secondly, if it was Derby, we did everything but score a second last week against them in a game where saw 24 shots.

Aston Villa have picked up 2.13 points per game at home better than the rest of the four playoff hopefuls (Fulham – 2.04), (Middlesbrough – 1.96) and (Derby County – 1.78).

Away from home we sit joint second with Derby County on 1.48 points per game, with only Fulham gaining more (1.78) and Middlesbrough only gaining 1.35.

Should we reach Wembley, anything can happen. I remember us being written off in 1994 against Manchester United and more recently against Liverpool in the F.A. Cup semi final.

Steve Bruce and the players seem committed and driven to get Villa back into the Premier League and the affinity with the fans is the strongest it has been in years.

Get behind the boys, believe in the players and as the old song goes …

What will be, will be.

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