After the great start to the season that the Villans enjoyed, I was determined to stay positive and put the more recent run of bad results down to the teams we were playing. However, after the comprehensive loss at Goodison Park last weekend, some little niggles and worries have started to work their way back into my Villa consciousness.
Although Everton’s squad is definitely better than ours, there is no doubting that the Toffees had had a shaky start to the season by their standards and there was an opportunity to take advantage of it. Instead, we rolled over and took a solid beating, even – literally – handing them the ball to score.
It made me think that we are now establishing ourselves as the Premier League’s ultimate pressure relieving team. The Everton players were under pressure to get their season up and running; in playing us, they did so.
The Gunners have been critisised for their start to the season, with only two league victories. One of them, of course, was a 3-0 victory over us at Villa Park.
The Red Devils have constantly been under pressure in the last two seasons yet our results against them have been two 3-0 losses and a 4-1 defeat.
Defeats to the likes of Fulham, Stoke and Crystal Palace in recent years are also examples of how we have not really shown up when the opportunities have been there for us to compound the troubles of our opponents.
Gone are the days when opposing teams would look at their fixtures against Aston Villa and think that a point would be a good result. Instead, we are now one of those teams against which anything but a victory will be a disappointment.
QPR’s players and staff will view the match against us on Monday as an opportunity to get some points on the board. After their performance against Liverpool, there won’t be many people betting against them doing just that.
We must not roll over like we have done many times in the past. We are missing some important players but that doesn’t change the fact that we should be beating teams like QPR if we are hoping to achieve a mid-table position.
A reoccurrence of the toothless display against Everton will suggest that we are in danger once more and a loss could have a detrimental effect on the players’ morale and performances. We need to put up a fight against QPR, get some points and get this season back on track. We must not be the pressure relieving team that we have been too many times in the past. Our season could depend on it.