Paul Lambert’s men have won eight points on the road this season whereas at Villa Park they have only won three points. Those points came from a solitary home victory against Manchester City, which I once said would be a massive step forward in Villa’s season. Since that day, the Villans have suffered a downward spiral, failing to score in the last four games and looking more confident away from Villa Park.
If Aston Villa want to progress this season, we need to get into a rich vein of form soon before another season trickles away and we potentially face another relegation battle come April or May. The away form away this season has been more or less faultless, with three points against Arsenal and Norwich and well deserved points against Hull and West Ham. The side has kept three clean sheets this season away from home, which suggests we seem to be capable and confident away. However, as soon as a home fixture comes around, the players go into their shells.
Our away support, in my opinion, is the best in the country: wherever Villa play, whenever it may be, we sell our allocation. Whenever I go to an away game, the atmosphere is always electric in the away end. In stark contrast, the atmosphere is sadly lacking for home games as fans seem to be dead in all corners of the stadium! I have experienced that personally, having held a season ticket in each stand at some point in the past six years. With the roar of the claret and blue faithful behind them, the Villa team can only be galvanized by it, not hindered. The travelling support never sit down, never stop singing and never leave before the (sometimes bitter) end, as we saw against Chelsea last season. If the away supporters can transfer the same energy to the rest of the Villa Park crowd, the stadium will be buzzing again. Let’s face it, we need that. A recent survey conducted by TalkSport highlights how Villa Park sometimes resembles a library, with our fans voted the sixth quietest out of the fans of all twenty teams in the Premier League. The home crowd seems impatient, which is understandable, but the players are not aided by this. People wonder why Villa’s away form is better than the home form; it is because there is no pressure on the players away from home and the supporters get behind the side and do not get impatient unless things are going drastically wrong. Even then, they do not stop singing.
The spine of the Villa side is the supporters. We do not have a twelfth man at home this season. Maybe we do away but what good is that when we should be making Villa Park a fortress, a place where teams do not look forward to playing us? It is not just the responsibility of the eleven men on the pitch to win points, it is the supporters’ jobs too. If we can turn away form into home form the side would be galvanized and only better things would follow. We need to get Villa Park rocking once again and ensure that the atmosphere makes fans’ hairs stand up on the backs of their necks and sends shivers down their backs. The side can do nothing without supporters so we need to get behind the side and leave the criticism until after the game.
Let’s get behind the boys in claret and blue against Cardiff next week and show teams we mean business once again!