Well that wasn’t supposed to happen after the great start at Villa! A thrashing at the hands of Manchester United, exiting the Carling Cup at Blackpool and losing to Everton. Suddenly the game at Villa is starting to seem a long time ago. There are quite a few doomsayers around at the moment predicting that the dreaded 'R' word is already hanging over us.
However here's a few reasons why we can still be cheerful.....
First of all let’s put things in perspective about how far we've come. I think a few of the people who are constantly running us down have to be reminded that we were in the bottom two divisions just a few years ago. I still have to pinch myself every time we play the likes of Man United or Liverpool. Every week we're in the Premier League is an adventure in itself.
We've had some bad results lately but I think there's a danger sometimes of looking at the highlights packages on the TV and assuming that we were awful. The Blackpool game aside (When we were missing quite a few first teamers) we haven’t played that badly in the games we lost. I was at the Man U game and let me assure you that in no way was that a 5-0 result.
Things were pretty evenly matched until Man U had a 20-30 minute spell when everything they touched seemed to turn to gold. We were doing a great job of frustrating them until then. As for the Everton game well I'm still not sure how we lost that, we definitely deserved something out of that game and an injury time penalty was a shattering blow to take, especially against an Everton team which seemed completely devoid of confidence. We could definitely have taken all three points in that game.
When you look at our performances compared to the likes of Portsmouth, Bolton or Hull then I don’t think we should worry too much. Those teams look like they're in more trouble than us.
Just comparing us to the teams I mentioned just now I think we've got a lot of positives to take.
Although we've lost a few exceptional players we still have the defence intact which got us to 11th place in the league last year. I still also think we've got one of the most talented managers in the game in charge of us. I think the way that Martinez wants to play will take time but when everything starts to click I think our football we be a joy to watch. Martinez's style of play will thrive on confidence and once we get a few wins under our belt it's all going to start coming together. I just hope the chairman and fans can give him the patience that he deserves.
Our next game is at home to West Ham. This is definitely a winnable game and we need to stop the rot and get something from that one. Our next two games after that are away to Arsenal and at Home to Chelsea which are going to be really hard propositions. That makes the West Ham game all the more important.
Here's to hoping we've got something more cheerful to talk about in the next post!