The fallout from another difficult week at Villa Park came to a head last night as reports emerged around the future of Sporting Director, Jesus Garcia Pitarch.
‘Suso’ was charged with identifying transfers and last summer saw Aston Villa spend £150 million, with only Manchester United spending more.
According to reports the transfers of Wesley, Trezeguet, Mbwana Samatta, Bjorn Engels, Frederic Guilbert and Marvelous Nakamba were all deals led by the Spaniard.
Granted players need time to settle but when you look at that list, it is a real eye opener.
It’s hard to say any of them have had a real impact in helping to improve the team with probably Frederic Guilbert the best of the bunch demonstrated by the fact that Villa have only won once when he hasn’t started.
The reports went on to highlight the players that manager Dean Smith had apparently wanted in Neal Maupay, Said Benrahma and Kalvin Phillips.
Maupay has scored important goals to pull Brighton further away from the relegation zone, whilst Benrahma and Phillips have followed up their performances of last season with arguably their best seasons to date in the current campaign.
The phrase that frustrates me most is ‘enquiry at the end of the season’.
As fans who live and breathe all things Villa, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the work of Pitarch was always questionable.
As I have repeatedly said throughout the season, the side has a glaring lack of experience in regards to Premier League football.
Those that have came in from top flight divisions have come from leagues that don’t compete on the European stages.
But also, it’s important to have players with experience of playing in England and arguably the Championship provides a tough fitness and game regime with the extra games and potential playoffs.
We could see by Christmas that there were issues and January came and went with nothing due to the sheer amount spent early on.
2 wins, 3 draws and 7 defeats since the turn of the year sees a measly 0.75 points per game return.
5 wins, 3 draws and 12 defeats up until the end of 2019 saw an initial points return of 0.90 points per game.
So as we face the final gauntlet of games starting with deserved champions Liverpool and an ever improving Manchester United, things look incredibly bleak.
Amazingly, if you look at the league table from 1st January to now, Villa would be safe by a single point having picked up 9 points with West Ham and Norwich on 8 and Bournemouth bottom picking up only 7 points.
Unsurprisingly we would still have the worst goal difference of -13 conceding exactly 2 goals per game.
Further evidence of the ongoing troubles.
When you look at the remaining fixtures, it’s genuinely hard to see where a win will come from and we need a win desperately.
As previous posts have mentioned, with the following fixtures all coming up before we take on West Ham which many think it will come down to, it could be too late.
Watford – Norwich
Norwich – West Ham
West Ham – Watford
This also presumes no ‘shock’ results.
Two wins could be enough in what has been a truly awful season for those at the bottom.
Brighton are a good example of this winning only one of their games since 1st January but only losing four.
The win against Arsenal has given them a bit of breathing space.
Whatever the enquiry brings up, Suso and his team, the board and Smith and his team tactically all need to take some collective responsibility.
With a salary cap being discussed in the Championship and Villa as short as 2/7 for the drop, the enquiry needs to start now and the plans need to ready to go as soon as the drop happens unless the miracle of safety is achieved.