December 23rd 2012 – my darkest hour as an Aston Villa supporter. It was a night where Chelsea dished out a harsh lesson to a young Villa team beating them 8-0. Many people in the days and weeks that followed tipped Villa for relegation and Paul Lambert for failure. I must confess I had my doubts. But fast forward to today and Villa are the subject to many a complimentary headline after exposing an Arsenal team’s many deficiencies on Saturday.
Gunner’s supporters may well argue the ref had a more than a helping hand on the outcome of the game but in reality the score-line could have been a lot worse for Arsenal had the man in the middle adhered to the letter of the law and issued Wojciech Szczesny with a red card for the first penalty incident.
Villa have the personnel to hurt any team on the counter attack but looking ahead to Chelsea mid-week the word ‘hurt’ takes on a different meaning. Losing 8-0 last year hurt Villa immensely – it shook the club to the core resulting in much soul searching and pondering on mistakes/choices the club had made in previous years that led to the club being on the receiving end of such a result.
Mid-week offers the chance of redemption. Many will suggest that losing just 2-0 in the manner Hull did yesterday will represent a decent score-line for the Birmingham visitors, but inside the Villa dressing room and Paul Lambert’s head I’m sure there is a desire for more. Yes it’s Chelsea, and yes, the Special One is back. But the Special One has tasted defeat to Villa before and may again if Villa work the ball fast and effectively out of defence thus negating Chelsea’s high pressing game.
Three points against the Special One may be wishful thinking, but often in life and sport ‘revenge’ offers up special, unique situations. I don’t expect 3 points, but I also don’t expect Chelsea having it all their own way. They best hope Ivanovic and Terry have their running boots on ’cause the Villa speedsters are coming.
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