Express & Star

Matt Maher: Revenge is a dish best served cold for Aston Villa

As the old proverb goes, revenge is best served cold.

Aston Villa's Douglas Luiz celebrates

It was positively frozen in form just after 10pm on Tuesday night when Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz logged into his social media accounts to enquire as to the well-being of Rio Ferdinand.

“I just came here to see if @rioferdy5 is okay,” he wrote, echoing Ferdinand’s own words after Luiz had shimmied in celebration when scoring against Manchester United in February, only for Villa to go and lose a match which, at the time, felt an important one in the race for Champions League football.

Petty? Perhaps, just a little. Yet you could hardly begrudge Luiz his dig, even if it gave Ferdinand rather more attention than he deserved.

Neither could you look too critically on the video released by Villa on their social media channels the following day, a clipped together catalogue of “experts” writing off their chances of a top-four finish.

For those on the outside, it was easy to do. Villa, with just one top-half finish in the previous decade, always looked the odd one out in a battle otherwise comprised of established Big Six clubs.

Yet over the final stretch, it was their rivals who gave way. Tottenham took just 10 points from 10 matches after winning 4-0 at Villa Park in March, while for all the positivity of their former players in the media, United’s challenge disappeared over a cliff. Never mind the Champions League, Erik Ten Hag’s team are now at risk of missing out on the Conference League.

In defence of the pundits, you could probably compile an even longer video of Villa supporters playing down their team’s chances at numerous points of the season.