It's strange how situations are interpreted. Personally, I've got Villa down as one of the more predictable teams in the Premier League, so it was surprising that certain television highlights coverage of last Sunday's match at Newcastle portrayed us as the complete opposite.
Unpredictable, because of our recent sequence of results? I think not. Inconsistent would be more accurate; occasionally, Villa win a game. More often than not, we don't. Sometimes we draw. All too often, such as at Newcastle, Villa lose. There's a kind of predictability about the team these days: you certainly know what's usually coming.
I know what's coming on Sunday, during Villa's game against Manchester City. At least before the game - there has been talk, this week, of a pre-match protest. Predictable? You bet. I don't know what the aims of this protest are, other than allowing a group of frustrated fans a voice and a channel to demonstrate their displeasure.
I doubt it will serve any real purpose, whatever that purpose is. If it's to protest the management of Alex McLeish, it's misguided. The very small window of opportunity to try and influence the club's decision to hire McLeish has been and gone; it didn't make any difference back in the summer, and won't do now. Besides, McLeish is doing his job as well as his employers wanted. Villa are on course to stay in the Premier League, and the manager isn't spending any money. Two big ticks in the two big boxes at the top of his job description.
I hope the protest, if it takes place, fizzles out rather quickly and quietly. Villa need all the help they can get these days, particularly at home; without a win since beating Norwich on November 5, results have been dire. Six league matches, two draws and four defeats: Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal have all visited in that sequence, but so have Swansea and QPR. Not the ideal time to be hosting Manchester City, if there ever was.
Chewing the online fat with fellow Villa fans this week, the ongoing debate over the qualities of McLeish have continued. It's fair to say the camp is divided reasonably equally between positive and negative views of his spell in charge to date.
I have a foot firmly in the negative camp. Have done since day one, and while retaining an open mind, I haven't seen a lot to change my mind. I accept he's working under restrictions, but those restrictions were made clear when he was hired and my source of confusion is this: given such restrictions in place, Villa would have been better off going for a manager with a track record of achievement in spite of limited resources.
It's as much a criticism of the Villa board as anything else, of course. McLeish is doing okay. I just happen to feel there are others who could have done much better; transfer budgets aside, this Villa squad is actually pretty strong. Take a look at some of the clubs above us.
Ignoring the positives and accentuating the negatives is pushed the way of McLeish's critics. It's a fair comment. So, here's my positive and negative assessment of the state of play to date:
Villa have a good - verging on great - goalkeeper in Shay Given, signed by McLeish
Gabby Agbonlahor has had a new lease of life this season - or at least during the first half of the season
McLeish has managed to integrate Stephen Ireland into the team since the Christmas period; performances have ranged from inspirational to insipid
Robbie Keane's impact has been fantastic since signing on loan
Some of the football played in short periods has been improved and easier on the eye
We probably won't go down
The defence is worse than ever - now regularly conceding two goals a game
This team has won six league games from 24 attempts - four of those victories have come against the regular bottom four in the league; Blackburn, Bolton, Wigan and Wolves.
The team seems to only play well in fits and starts, and have started too many games slowly
Questionable team spirit: Villa don't seem to be working for each other, increasing rumours of player unrest (and examples of player dissent)
McLeish has failed to get anything approaching good form from his £10m signing, Charles N'Zogbia. Worse still, the player appears increasingly disenchanted with life at Villa.
Challenged to make more of the young players, but mixed results here with Clark and Albrighton barely used until December, Fabian Delph sidelined in recent weeks and subsequently loaned out; same with Nathan Delfouneso. With problems in defence, McLeish has young players to call on here, but will he?
Home attendances on the decline - how much of a pull are Villa these days?
Sunday will be another stern examination of the manager, against opponents who will be highly favoured to win. Villa fans are realistic these days - they have had to be - and while a win will be wildly celebrated, a committed and passionate performance would satisfy the majority.
Last season, Villa won the game with Darren Bent's debut goal, but the key was a solid defensive showing; Richard Dunne and the rest of the back four aptly defended like lions. That kind of tenacity seems a distant memory now - Villa need a long overdue repeat to take the points.