Football can do funny things to the mind and the least of it’s abilities is to take you through a whirlwind of emotions; from massive lows to the ultimate highs when you win games you really didn’t expect.
And we’ve seen plenty of that already this season.
Beating Man City and Arsenal were very unexpected on my part at least and it was a great feeling, knowing that it really looked like we could challenge.
And then we had that massively disappointing draw against Sheffield.
Still, not to worry, my confidence was high that we’d beat Man Utd. At 2-0, it looked like we were going to win fairly easly, only to capitulate in the second half and let them go on to win.
So while only taking one point from six isn’t good, the reality is it’s probably only two points down from what we’d normally expect. And the Arsenal and Man City games more than balance it out.
I look at things and we’re doing remarkably well. We’re third in the table, only a solitary point behind second, which is something we’d have snatched hands off for at the start of the season.
But then, the negative, doubting side kicks in and I see that City are two points behind, with a game in hand and I start to see that when you consider how tired the lads have looked lately, other teams will creep up and overtake us.
Yet returning to reality, only Liverpool and West ham have better form over the last five games.
My mind is seemingly playing tricks on me again.
Team news then and Digne is out for a few weeks with a hamstring injury. Pau is not yet fit and Emery seemed to be giving a bit of a mixed message, I thought. Basically, he’s a couple of weeks away from being fully fit, yet he made the bench last time out. I suppose that tells us two things. Pau is massively valued and it shows how short of backup we are in certain areas.
It’s not the end of the world, as Lenglet will come in and we have Moreno, who’s very decent, yet not fully up to speed.
Tielemans is looking like he’ll be out for a few weeks, which is a shame, as I felt he was just beginning to get in the groove and Kaamara, the idiot, is still suspended. I can’t help but think we’d have done better in our last two, had he been on the pitch. Still, I can’t complain too much. It happens and he has been pretty much excellent this season.
One bit of good news is that we have Matty Cash back. As much as his form hasn’t been good recently, I still prefer him over Konsa playing in his place. Konsa is just way better in the middle, imo and we miss something when he’s not. We seriously need another right back. Not just a so-so loan either. Spend the money on an improvement on Cash, as much as I know winter is not a good time. I just feel it’s a higher priority than a striker, as much as I’d like one of those too.
And the rest is as per usual, with the long-termers.
Burnley have no new problems and Jack Cork could well make a return today.
Johann Gudmundsson and Aaron Ramsey came on as subs for Liverpool, so there’s a good chance they’ll feature, which gives me the shudders. What odds on him doing an Archer, I wonder?
On paper, this ought to be very straightforward. Burnley are generally a poor side, as much as I quite like watching them play. They battle for everything, but ultimately just aren’t good enough.
So it has to be a Villa win, doesn’t it?
Except I said pretty much the same about the Sheffield game.
I worry that we’ve just run out of steam and while we can muster a good 15-20 minutes, we can’t manage a full game.
So while I’m full of doubt again and have a sneaky feeling we’re going to drop points, I can’t face the thought of that, as I know I’ll just be even more gutted than I have been over the last two games. It’s why I didn’t write reviews for either game. The feelings of despair can have a tendency to make my thoughts nonsensical. That’s what Football does to me.
So, I have to continue to believe. A 2-1 win it is then.
And just in case we do draw or lose, I’ll say Happy New Year to everybody now. Because I’ll probably feel too gutted to talk about it.