A televised trip to Norwich beckons this week, but Matt Turvey pauses to reflect on how the last game at Villa Park may show worrying signs for the Villans.
After a game to forget last week, there's a chance for redemption on Saturday as Aston Villa travel to Carrow Road searching for their first win in four games.
Last weekend, there was a palpable sense of expectation - as though Newcastle United were seen to be able to be defeated by merely going through the motions. The reality was nothing of the sort as the Magpies took all three points and Hatem Ben Arfa ran amok.
As a result of the loss, there appears to be a strange sense of anger hanging in the air amongst many fans. At half time and full time at Villa Park, boos rang out, presumably as fans felt the quality of football displayed was somewhat incongruous with their own expectations - that Paul Lambert's team were turning a corner.
Whilst anger may well be justified in a game where Villa did struggle to compete, the realities at Villa Park dictate that only one of the last four games - against Newcastle - is seen as a below-expected performance. However, should we look into the squad available for Villa last Saturday, one could argue that Newcastle have a stronger team than our own.
Of course, some will lay the blame that our squad is weak on the manager, with Lambert having had three transfer windows available to make changes at the club. However, as with many of the situations around Villa Park, the reality is far from simplistic.
What tends to happen regularly is that over-simplified narratives arise, normally revolving around any one of three people - Lambert, chairman Randy Lerner, and/or chief executive Paul Faulkner. In many of these arguments, there is an almost tangible sense of negligence being suggested by fans, as though any one of the aforementioned three is on some kind of crusade to destroy the club.
Looking at common sense, minus any supposed inside knowledge or "in-the-know" information (a term I despise), the above statement is nonsensical - whatever the sentiment towards those in charge as Villa stumble through an era of mediocrity, it is laugable that any one of these men would want to take the club backwards on purpose.
Yes, Villa have struggled in recent times and, yes, many at the club have made mistakes, but the concept of an organisation deciding to implode on purpose, for no deeper reason than to create anger amongst fans, is nigh on deluded.
For example, Lambert will want to do the best he can for his own reputation, Lerner will want to make back his losses if nothing else, and Faulkner will want to do well, if only for his own CV.
Getting back to the weekend's game, fans have to - for the sake of their own happiness -get to a point where, as with Newcastle, the Norwich game is treated as one where a win is the target, but is far from a certainty. This shouldn't mean fans can't be disappointed with less than three points - we should want to get as many wins as possible obviously - but this anger, seen in its early stages last Saturday, will quickly eat up any remaining confidence in our squad.
After all, many have questioned the complex argument on why Villa are poor at home, whilst getting more points in away games. What ends up being a discussion that avoids many aspects of what could actually be happening seems to have an increasingly obvious answer - if a team is booed off despite being just one goal down at half time, players are obviously going to become despondent.
A win may well be the tonic required for fans come Saturday, but the players may well be savouring a tonic of their own - to play without the increasing pressure that is bubbling up at Villa Park, albeit slowly, illustrated succinctly by the team being booed off the pitch.
Villa have a chance of survival, but with narrow margins creating a potential hostile atmosphere - one I could partly understand the reasoning for as an attendee of the game - the team could find themselves in the strange position where the team plays better away from home, a reversal of the usual narrative that tends to give home teams an advantage on their home turf.
You can follow Matt Turvey’s regular opinions at his own site, Aston Villa Life at http://www.astonvillalife.com, via the site’s Twitter account @astonvillalife, or via his own Twitter account @mturvey_star.