It was December 8th 2012 when Stoke City came to Villa Park and played out a fairly dull 0-0 stalemate. So many must be wondering why I am reminiscing about a goalless draw? Well that particular afternoon marked the last time Aston Villa kept a clean sheet.
I have heard Villa fans say Ron Jeremy has cleaner sheets than the Villans, and although that is highly amusing, at what point does the chuckling stop? For me the distant echoing of alarm bells have slowly started to creep into the Villa eardrum . Yes people say preseason games mainly serve as a fitness exercise, but in our first four contests, we have failed to keep a clean sheet. We have hardly been playing top notch sides if your honest about it. League two Wycombe stuck a couple past us.
Paul Lambert will hope the acquisition of Jores Okore will help stem the flow of goals conceded, but my worry is the mentality of the team. There seems to be an inevitability of Villa conceding a goal every game. This sense has filtered through to the stands, and was no more apparent than when we were shocked by Bradford in the League Cup semi final. We trailed 3-1 from the first leg, yet most fans knew it was actually 4-1 as Villa would 100% concede a goal at home to a league two side. We actually expected to concede at home to Bradford?
I’m not sure where the blame lies, but surely these friendlies should be used to gel our first choice defence for the coming season, and a clean sheet has to be a major goal for the team. With Arsenal and Liverpool waiting in the wings, this mental problem has to be eradicated. The pursuit moves to Kenilworth Road this Tuesday. If we can’t keep a shutout against a conference team then Walcott, Aspas and co will be licking their lips to play us come August.
I shall be starting work experience at The Independent next Monday. If I hear any Villa news you can be sure I will report it for you guys. Utv