Consider this a head start, Aston Villa, a bit of time to get yourself acclimated to the level of the Championship so that you’ll have a comfortable first season outside the comforts of the Premier League. Because you will be spending next season outside the top flight for the first time since 1988, before the Prem was even formed, and your second season in the second division since 1975. Considering just how ragged your year has been it may be a nice little confidence boost to play against the Birminghams and Prestons of the world instead of getting ritually embarrassed by everyone short of Norwich, who are also probably getting relegated themselves.
There is no hope here. If you take into consideration Portsmouth’s docking of nine points for being in financial ruin, no Premier League club has finished with fewer than 25 points since the legendary Derby County in 2007-2008. Villa are on pace for 21, and I had to round up to get there. They have conceded the most goals in the league and have scored the fewest, they have an attack predicated on friggin’ Alan Hutton firing crosses into the box, and they still have to play Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United, and Arsenal in their last nine fixtures. It’s time for them to just take the ball and go home, it’s been dark outside for hours.
“But wait!” you cry out, “This ruined club can still at least cause a problem for a contender! Won’t that be worth the effort?” No, it will not, because it is not going to happen. In total, Villa have taken two points off the following list of decent-to-good teams: Leicester, Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Stoke City, Everton. Their best case scenario is beating Newcastle and Bournemouth and pulling a tie out of their asses against a better opponent, and even then they’d be the worst team in eight seasons. Just go play some friendlies with Reading instead.
Look at that shit. That ball would get intercepted in a middle school game, probably by accident, but Villa’s midfielders are too dumb to even consider occupying the acres of empty space. Blowing a coverage via ignorance and disregarding Romelu Lukaku are things that happen in the 88th minute of a 4-0 defeat, not in the first five minutes on your own home turf.
And the Villains have plenty of experience with a 4-0 defeat. They’ve lost two games this season by that scoreline and even tacked on an absolutely rubbish 6-0 whitewashing by Liverpool a couple weeks back. Ten of their seventeen losses have come by multiple goals, and it legitimately feels like more. The most amazing part is their steadfast refusal to mark their opponents’ most dangerous attackers. The Lukaku one above is pretty bad, but look how much space David Silva has inside Villa’s box. These dudes aren’t even trying.
Shorn of hope and effort, all that remains in Villa’s season is more opportunity for misery. Someone like Eden Hazard or Alexis Sanchez or Christian Eriksen is going to drive at Villa’s shambolic back three/five/whatever, Micah Richards is going to kick them in the kneecap, and soccer will be short one brilliant player for the next nine months. It’s not worth that risk to allow these sadsacks to prolong their own incompetence.