The crowd started to drift out of Villa Park with more than thirty minutes left to play, yesterday afternoon. This has been a wretched, dismal Christmas for the supporters of Aston Villa Football Club, who have, in the course of just three matches, seen a quiet sense of unease at the progress – or lack thereof – that their team had been making this season turn to something approaching outright alarm. First up came an eight goal thrashing at the hands of Chelsea in a match as one-sided as anything that we have seen in the Premier League in the last ten years or so. This was followed up by a home defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur which ended in a four-nil defeat, but which could have been considerably worse.
And then came Wigan Athletic at Villa Park. This, the previous two matches had confirmed, was now something of a litmus test for manager Paul Lambert, a simultaneous litmus test and half-term report for a team that has continued to stall since the departure of Alex McLeish during the summer. It was a test that Lambert’s team comprehensively failed. A goal down within three minutes, two further Wigan (...)