All my posts start with an excuse at the moment but trust me, it's easier than starting the way I would have started a few years ago after a result like last time out. But I've matured and I don't write posts like that anymore.
And now that I've written that I have no doubt that will change soon enough, much like a lot of personal views have changed on Dean Smith in such a short period of time. Not long ago, he could do no wrong. Today, if you believe what you read in the papers, he has one game.
And that game is tonight at Southampton. I can't believe it myself and I trust that the owners see something bigger and more lucrative. The cost of change is large and it carries with it a fair degree of uncertainty. Look at what has happened at Spurs since they got rid of Poch and look at what is happening at Newcastle right now. They're about to appoint third choice Eddie Howe and I'd put money on them appointing a third manager this season and getting relegated!
We have to be better than the likes of Spurs and Newcastle. But that doesn't happen if we change managers like they do. Dean Smith has finished higher every season with Aston Villa and that for me is reason enough that he stays. He's not David O'Leary, remember him? From his first season as manager of Leeds to his last at Aston Villa, he finished lower every season. These are reasons why Dean Smith should be supported.
So, that said and because it's Friday night football and I've got lots of work to get done in time to watch the match, I'll leave you for now. But have faith people and be grateful, you weren't born a Newcastle fan. It could be a lot worse.
And remember what I wrote last weekend about how winning can make the day so much better? Losing tonight would ruin my weekend Mr Smith. Please don't ruin my weekend.
Match facts from the BBC
- Aston Villa's 1-0 victory in the corresponding fixture last season ended a nine-match winless run against Southampton in all competitions (D3, L6).
- They can beat Saints in consecutive Premier League meetings for the first time since 2004-05.
- Southampton have earned 15 Premier League wins against Villa, second only to their 16 victories versus Newcastle United.
- Southampton have taken seven points from three league matches, as many as in their previous 10.
- Saints are unbeaten in all four league fixtures this season versus teams currently below them in the table (W2, D2).
- They have also gone three Premier League games without defeat on a Friday since the record 9-0 home loss versus Leicester in October 2019.
- However, a 19th Premier League defeat of 2021 would be their most in a calendar year since losing as many in 1998.
- There have only been eight goals at St. Mary's this season, the fewest in the division.
- Southampton's winning goal against Watford last weekend was their only shot on target of the game.
- Dean Smith's side have lost four consecutive league matches - the longest current streak in the top flight.
- They could suffer five successive league defeats for the first time since January to February 2017 in the Championship.
- Aston Villa have conceded three goals or more in three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since December 2012.
- Only Norwich and Newcastle have a worse defensive record in the division this season than Villa, who have conceded 19 goals.
- They are winless in 13 top-flight away fixtures played on a Friday since a 4-1 victory at Charlton Athletic in April 1950 (D3, L10).