Something For The Weekend (254)
Double-whammy and double-trouble
Villa succumbed to Blackburn's aerial-bombardment last week, even if not by much of a margin and it was a huge disappointment for those like me who were dreaming of seven wins out of seven. But big Sam got it right and with a little help from the referee, took all the points and left Martin O'Neill to rue his afternoon of much huff and puff, with absolutely nowt to show for it.
But even nowt is more than the big minus number, the away fans had been left with, after paying some eye-watering prices to their hosts, which even Jack Walker might have thought a bit steep.
It was never going to be an afternoon of total-football, what with Blackburn's predicament and Allardyce's long history of industrial-strength long-ball, which Villa ultimately failed to cope with.
When the Villa fans had tired of muttering fluck our pluck, and wishing death upon the Ref, there was a little debate about O'Neill's decision to play 4-4-2 and start with John Carew. The conclusion seemed to be, that its not much use having five in the middle if the opposition are going to spend the afternoon bypassing your midfield by lumping it long from the back. And, adding Carew's height at both ends of the pitch, would seem to add defensive as well as attacking advantages. So the tactics were understandable but didn't quite work out.
There was a little consolation to be had from Gabby's goal, which amused as much as it delighted, as his scuffed shot seemed to owe as much to good fortune, as Blackburn's winner, as the spin took it beyond Paul Robinson and into the net at a trickle, like a crown-green bowl.
It was the sort of game, Villa might be expected to win.
The next two games look rather different and no one has a right to expect Villa to beat either Man City or Chelsea. To put things into perspective, for what Villa spent over the summer, they couldn't even have bought Tevez, not by a long way.
However, neither Citeh or Chelsea look invincible but after having had their heading prowess tested and found wanting at Blackburn, Villa's new centre-backs will have to see how they deal with the pace of Bellamy and Wright-Phillips and then the whole shock and awe package, known as Drogba, all within less than a week.
So its going to be interesting, in the Chinese sense of the word and Villa go into both games as second-favourites. Anything Villa get will be a big surprise and an even bigger bonus.
Of course for a certain poisonous minority two difficult games in a row, makes it rather delectable, whether Villa win or lose. If Villa win they'll enjoy it, albeit reluctantly, but oh the joy if Villa get stuffed. So I expect to get a whiff of that unmistakable maggoty smell, I associate with fishing-tackle shops, at some time in the next fortnight, as these Villa paragons tell me what a twunt me and my team are.
Should Gareth Barry enjoy a particularly good game against Villa I expect the pain to be fierce as I endure the triumphant smiles of the gainsaying maggotry of Villa belief.
Therefore to avoid such unpleasantries Villa might do me the huge favour of having the week of their careers by beating both of them and setting off some mild hysteria about them winning the league.
But I don't expect it and so I must accept that every maggot has his day.
So in anticipation of such misery (not the losing but the torment by Villa's Quislings), there has not been much to laugh at this week, and not even Liverpool getting stuffed in the Champions League, managed to lift my spirits.
Then Man United enjoyed more luck than was quite decent, against Volkswagen United, which resulted in some serious dummy-spitting on my part but gladly my TV remote-control turned out to be tougher than it looks and I wasn't punished too badly for my folly.
So Villa Quislings notwithstanding, let your hopes be undaunted and let your faith be justified.
Up the Villa!