A truly awful performance from a team that seemed to have found its way of late, but are now back into the bewildering threat of relegation. The 8-0 score line actually flattered Aston Villa, as Chelsea wasted several glorious chances throughout the match, including having a penalty saved by Villa ‘keeper Brad Guzan. Villa looked inept in all areas, and were taught a harsh lesson that will stick with the young team throughout their professional careers.
Paul Lambert has always been a manager that believes attack is the best form of defence. Away to Chelsea however this is certainly not the case, and Villa’s defending was woeful from start to finish. Their 3-5-2 formation which has served them well in recent weeks, was torn apart time after time by an impressive Chelsea attack. The crushing defeat also means that Villa now have the worst goal difference in the league, a statistic that will not please any Villa fans as it was only by their goal difference that led to their survival in the previous Premier League campaign.
So where do Villa go from here? Many fans and pundits will say the only way is down at this point, but it is lucky for Lambert and his side that the Christmas period is always a busy one, and one terrible result can be forgotten very quickly if a more positive one features soon after. Lambert must ensure that the players keep their heads up after this mauling, and use the disappointment to inspire in future games. Villa face another top London based opponent next time out in the league, as Tottenham Hotspur travel down to the Villa Park, a ground where they have enjoyed great success in recent years. Villa’s unbeaten run that they had leading into the Chelsea game already seems like a distant memory, but the effort and resilience shown in those previous 5 league fixtures must return if Villa are to pick up any points against a very good Spurs side coached by a very good manager in Andre Villas-Boas.
Villa’s 8-0 defeat against Chelsea will long be remembered as one of Villa’s worst games of all time, but it will be the reaction to a game such as that which will define their season. If Lambert uses the performance as an inspirational tool, stating that another performance like that will not be acceptable whilst they play for Aston Villa, then the shame of losing again like this may be enough to gain them an extra few points as the season progresses. If Villa were to lose their next fixture against Tottenham on the other hand, this result may haunt the young side for the rest of the season, and the confidence gained in recent weeks will seep away very swiftly. Only time will tell what effect this result has for Villa, but the effect it has already taken on their goal difference may prove to be crucial in the fight for survival
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