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American Born Villan

Aston Villa, From Chicago to the Holte End of the World

Watford 3 – Aston Villa 2: You’re Nothing Special

You're nothing special

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Aston Villa 0 – Liverpool 6: Valentine’s Day Massacre

I haven’t been blogging about Villa much lately. Part of it has been that I have been busy with three very different book projects (stay tuned for more on those). Part of it has been the usual stuff of my day job, my family, and the things I love to do, like coaching my kids’ teams. But I suspect the biggest reason is that, too often, I feel I’ve run out of new things to say.

I’ve written one or two posts about what it feels like to win. I’ve written a few posts about meaningless draws. I’ve written still more about losses big and small, and the grind of supporting a terrible team. And I’ve written a lot about how, often, the only thing that makes supporting Aston Villa worthwhile has been the Chicago Villans.

I’m about to write another one of those. What’s the point? you might reasonably ask. But you could also ask that about watching our team over the past four and a half seasons. Continue reading “Aston Villa 0 – Liverpool 6: Valentine’s Day Massacre”

Aston Villa 1 – Crystal Palace 0: No Villans No Cry

Jumpin' Joleon Lescott

The official hashtag for this game, #AVLCRY, didn’t bode well. Given how much heartbreak we’ve suffered this season, I think most Villans were expecting this match to bring further tears. Despite a recent slackening in form, Crystal Palace were bringing the league’s best on-the-road defense to Villa Park and a team with the lowest home scoring record in English league soccer with, if memory serves, 6 home goals this season.

Also a team that hadn’t won in 19 games.

But we won! We won, we won, WE WON! Sure, the goal itself was an absolute goalkeeping howler that is likely to haunt Hennessey to his grave, but the three points are ours and nobody can take them away from us. Only 21 games played and we’re finally in double digits! What’s better is that Villa truly deserved the win. Yes, Palace created a couple of very nice chances, one of them with less than a minute played, but on balance, Villa had more possession, better passing, and, while the final ball still let them down too many times, did genuinely look like scoring more often. They played with heart and commitment and finally held a lead to the end. Continue reading “Aston Villa 1 – Crystal Palace 0: No Villans No Cry”

Aston Villa 2 – Watford 3: Game, Set, and Season?

So Next Year I’ll Have to Watch Games on Bein Sport?

Is this how our Premier League run ends? Losing 2-3 to a newly promoted side?

Or did it end with last week’s 0-4 loss to Everton, a loss so disheartening I couldn’t write about it. I had a headline—”When the Light at the End of the Tunnel Is an Approaching Train”—but nothing else.

It will likely be impossible to pinpoint the moment Villa secures relegation, and it won’t be official for some time to come. But even I, an eternal optimist and true believer, don’t believe we’ll find safety this year. And Alan Hutton’s own goal, when he nudged the ball away from an onrushing Odion Ighalo only to guide it into the corner of Brad Guzan’s goal, sums up the season well enough.

Hope is a slow-acting poison. After Remi Garde engineered a shock nil-nil draw against Manchester City, I fully believed we could engineer another draw against Everton, despite their superior record against us. Who knew? Maybe we’d even steal a win. Ross Barkley’s first goal at 17 minutes destroyed Garde’s game plan, though, starting the rout, and by the whistle I was convinced our season was over. Continue reading “Aston Villa 2 – Watford 3: Game, Set, and Season?”

Aston Villa at Everton: Please, God, Let Us Have Another Point

jordan-amavi

Libor Kozak. Jores Okore. Jordan Amavi. When Villa’s promising new players get injured, they sure don’t mess around.

Thankfully, Rudy Gestede’s knee injury doesn’t sound too serious, but with Amavi on the wrong end of a season-ending tackle while playing for the France U21s—shortly after playing an important part in that slide-stopping nil-nil against Man City—I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering whether Aston Villa is truly cursed.

I guess the question going forward is this: is an Aston Villa with Kieran Richardson significantly more likely to get relegated than an Aston Villa with Jordan Amavi? (If we were baseball geeks, I believe we’d be talking about WAR.)

I’m sure that’s completely unfair to the former player, but if Villa are to stave off relegation this season, it’s likely to be by the finest of margins.

Everton’s home record is mixed, but their recent goal-scoring record against Villa—yikes. If there’s anything that makes me feel better at the moment, it’s Jordan Ayew’s goal for Ghana.

What’s that you say? It was only against Comoros Islands, and you couldn’t find that on a map?

Spoilsport.

Please please please please let us get another point to add to our collection tomorrow. I’m not even going to dream about a win.

UTV

Aston Villa 0 – Manchester City 0: A New Hope

All smiles at the Globe Pub
You only come to see the Villa!

That flutter in my chest—was it hope? Or merely a sign that I shouldn’t have ordered the egg-and-sausage omelet at kickoff?

I’m Not Crying

Forty degrees as I rode my bike toward the Globe at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning. The wind had my eyes watering and hoping that no one saw me before I could dry them. They might think I was crying in advance of the expected result in a battle of first against worst. (Testifying for the defense: Flight of the Conchords.)

En Garde

My prediction for this game had been an 0-3 Villa loss. Granted, that was in the misty days of yore, a full 23 days earlier, back when a man named Tim Sherwood was the manager of the team. Gather round, children, and I’ll tell you the tale of a man whose magical powers were contained in his gilet. Once vanity caused him to forswear the sacred garment, his days were surely numbered . . . .

The choice of Remi Garde as the new Villa manager was an intriguing one, but with a team mired in last place and enduring a seven-game league losing streak taking on the team at the top of the table, it didn’t seem reasonable to expect much. I think I speak for most Villans when I say we were hoping not to be embarrassed too badly. At best, we wanted to see signs of improvement. And even if Villa were to get hammered 6-0, no one would have blamed Garde. Continue reading “Aston Villa 0 – Manchester City 0: A New Hope”

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