Two defeats in three games with a mildly unsatisfactory draw sandwiched in between – not what we’ve come to expect this season.
Poch’s selection on Thursday made his priorities clear, it’s the Top Four or Bust. His choices were the equivalent of waving a white flag and it’s unlikely we’ll have to worry too much about getting to Basle in May. Whatever the reasons and whether you agree with it or not, it’s happened.
Rebooting the system
The selection against BVB creates its own pressure for Sunday. A win is vital to justify the coach’s decision but if we were to bully Villa the way we have other teams, Norwich, Sunderland, Swansea, near the bottom then not only would he feel vindicated but the Normal Service Has Been Resumed notices would be posted and all the fears about injuries and fatigue would be allayed, at least for another week or so.
Murdock, Face, Hannibal and B.A. Baracus
Injuries permitting we should see the return of at least seven players who didn’t go through the process of being minced and pulped by the Germans, at least not from the start anyway – Walker, Rose, Dier, Dembélé, Lamela, Alli and Kane should all be in if they’re available leaving just Lloris, Toby, Wimmer and Eriksen to be assessed to see if they’ve recovered enough (mentally and physically) to play.
Despite committing the most fouls in the division we’ve yet to have a player sent off this season. Dier wasn’t that far away last weekend as has been widely discussed. (the fact that Coquelin’s first card should’ve been his second and that Giroud took a swipe at Dier have been glossed over). Bad boy Eric is on the brink with his yellows, he’s got 9 in the bank. If he picks up another against any of Villa, Bournemouth, Liverpool or Man United then he’ll get a two game ban – it seems inevitable but it’ll be interesting to see if it affects his performance or is treated differently by the manager.
Townsend – One of our own
As the Goons aren’t playing (in the league) we will have played more games than anyone else (in the top four) by the end of Sunday. Leicester are playing the currently managerless Barcodes on Monday so a win for them seems assured unless Andros turns it on for the home team. Let’s make sure we keep the pressure on the leaders; anything other than a win means that we’ll probably have to reassess our expectations. We’ll be using our Stan James promo code to back a Spurs win.
Anthony Taylor is the referee at Villa Park.
Have something to tell us about this article?