The thought of this game frankly scares me, as I quite simply think it will define our season if we lose.
That’s probably unfair on Remi Garde, as he’s only had two games to impose himself on the squad, but I’ve been telling everyone I haven’t spoken to in a while that if we can’t beat Watford at home, we might as well say we’re down.
Choosing one particular game might be unfair too, but let’s look at the facts: No club on 5 points at this stage of the season has survived in the Premier league. We simply have to get some points, else there’s every chance we’re going to be cut further adrift.
The absolute truth is I think we’re down already and another defeat tomorrow will just confirm it even more.
Of course, there is still a glimmer of hope and you could point to the fact that we got a point out of the Man City and Everton games, something most of us probably didn’t expect.
But I have too many questions, the first being who do we see scoring the goals?
Unfortunately we don’t create anything, so how do we get the ball in the box?
This is where Gestede has to come in for me.
I’m almost ashamed to say it, but we have to take the more direct route and try to get the ball on his head.
The problem there is Gestede isn’t suited to the ball coming from behind him is he? He doesn’t really hold the ball up and although he can knock it down, the players don’t get close enough to him to take advantage.
But I guess what I’m getting at, is that he’s the best we’ve got if we want to go direct, which isn’t saying a lot if Kozak can’t get a look in.
And then we come to the midfield, who I think are far too lightweight, something Garde alluded to when talking about Sanchez being different.
Dropping Grealish is a good move. Not so much for his escapades in Manchester (I’m sure we’ve all been out for a drink after a bad day at the office), but more because he’s frankly been rubbish for most of the games this season.
Gardner’s supposed to be fit, so he’s the one I’d call on to replace him, purely because you know he will graft and put himself about.
What about the defence?
That scares me the most.
Watford are a pacey side, so if we go at them, they will counter to good effect and you just know everyone is now going to concentrate their efforts on our left back.
If that’s Kieran Richardson, well….. I’m shaking my head as I write.
And they have Troy Deeney, the bluenose, who must be odds on to score against us.
I’m going to stop there, as I’m depressing myself now, but good grief, doesn’t it just show what a paucity of quality we have in our squad?
As for the squads, Gabby’s still out with his calf problem, something I’m indifferent about. I’d love for him to come in and save us by going on a streak, but doubt it would happen.
Better news is that Jores Okore is available, although I doubt he’ll get a start.
Watford’s Valon Behrami is a doubt.
Prediction time then and again I’m embarrassed to say that I think Watford are better than Villa, if only because they want it more and are willing to fight.
This is a team that haven’t beaten us since something like 1986 or 87.
I’m expecting us to go 4-5-1, with the aim being to try and at least earn a point, but this is where we’ll no doubt find out more about the manager and how he thinks.
My heart says 1-0 to us.
But the reality is more likely to be 2-0 to them and if they get the early goal…
As I said, this game scares me.
Come on Villa, just get the points.