We are maybe now getting an insight into just how deep the problems may be at Aston Villa.
Despite spending more money than any other Championship club, Steve Bruce and his team are in a relegation fight, currently standing only six points above the drop.
Ahead of the game at St James Park on Monday night, Aston Villa defender James Chester has been speaking about the situation at the club.
He is hoping that the game at Newcastle could be the beginning of better times ahead, saying that ‘with the individuals we have in the squad, we are more than capable of going and getting a result’.
That may well be the case because in any one-off match anything can happen, though after 31/32 matches you do have a very good idea of how things will turn out.
Despite their dismal form and results, James Chester has made an interesting claim, which goes to the heart of the delusion at Aston Villa.
The defender declaring that ‘individually every member of our squad would get in to pretty much any team in this division’.
On exactly what basis this is claimed is beyond me, the belief seemingly being that by the amounts of money thrown about, it equals ability.
James Chester’s own career at the top level has equated to helping Hull get relegated and then after moving to West Brom he only started 9 Premier League games they were more than happy to sell him to a desperate Villa for £10m last summer as they made a number of desperate late signings.
Claiming all of Aston Villa’s players would walk into any other Championship team, is the equivalent of Newcastle fans thinking last season that despite the rubbish we watched, most of Newcastle’s players would have got a game for the other 19 PL clubs.
Some of Villa’s players might get a game for some other Championship teams but I doubt if many/any would get a game for any of those chasing promotion.
Who from Villa would get ahead of Darlow, Clark, Yedlin, Shelvey, Gayle and Ritchie at Newcastle.
Or what about Bruno, Dunk, Duffy, Murray and Knockaert at Brighton.
Huddersfield are also playing great football and the likes of Reading & Leeds are showing quality as well.
As a Newcastle fan I wouldn’t even claim that many of our players would automatically walk into the teams of those clubs at the top.
I think Clark, Shelvey and Gayle would – but beyond that, I think we then have a number of players such as Yedlin, Darlow, Ritchie, Hayden and Lascelles who are very decent, but where other clubs would probably think they had players as good.
“We are well aware of the tough time we are going through at the moment, it’s certainly not lost on us. We understand it.
“We been given the huge privilege of playing for this club, now we have to try and turn the fortunes around for everyone involved.
“And the fans too, we need to turn around the suffering they have felt for a long time and not to prolong it like we have done in the last six weeks.
“We’re convinced by the players the gaffer’s brought in in January, and – having worked with him before at Hull City – I know we’ve certainly got the right people here to turn it around. But it’s certainly difficult at the moment.
“The Barnsley game was a kick in the teeth, I thought we started quite brightly.
“Creating chances isn’t an issue at the moment – it’s taking them. We are also not keeping enough clean sheets at the other end.
“Hopefully if we keep creating the chances, we will take them.
“I’m also looking at myself in terms of where I can improve. The rest of the lads will be doing the same so we can get out of this mess.
“We’ve changed it and it does take a settling in period, individually every member of our squad would get in to pretty much any team in this division.
“We certainly have the ability to be picking up results, but I think we’ve been a little bit too easy to play against in recent weeks.
“It is something that does take a little bit of time, but the ability of the players who have been brought in here and were already here, means we should be doing better regardless of whether they are new or not.
“In time, and the more we play together, hopefully things will start to click and we will get this club going in the right direction it deserves.”
“It (Newcastle) is certainly a difficult game for us with where they are in the league and the run we are on.
“But it’s a game that we can look forward to, with the individuals we have in the squad, we are more than capable of going and getting a result.
“If there is a negative on their season, it’s the fact that they’ve lost a few games at home.
“Hopefully we can go there and turn our fortunes around.
“In bad moments, you find out a lot about yourself and each other, we need to talk together.
“We just need that first result to get the confidence back and get ourselves going.”