Excuses Starting To Wear Thin For Alex McLeishby Jack Kitson / 28 February 2012, 10:35Tweet
Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish is treading on thin ice after his side laboured to a goalless draw with basement club Wigan. Villa supporters are growing increasing frustrated with both McLeish’s excuses and Villa’s dismal form, which has seen them pick up just six league wins all season. On Saturday the club's away contingent weren’t shy of voicing their discontent at their under-fire manager and greeted his decision to bring on Emile Heskey with a chorus of boos and chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing”.
After a reasonably bright start to the 2011/12 campaign - Villa went unbeaten in their opening seven games - they have since struggled for consistency and as a result have gradually fallen down the table. They have endured a poor start to 2012, winning just one of their seven league matches, leaving them languishing down in 15th. Under former boss Martin O’Neill the club were accustomed to finishing in the top six but they are now facing the reality of a finishing outside of the top ten for the first time since 2007.
McLeish was appointed in controversial circumstances during the summer when he made a heavily opposed move from Villa’s fierce local rivals Birmingham City, much to the despair of both sets of supporters, with many Villa fans staging furious protests outside Villa Park. McLeish has yet to win over all of the boo-boys, a case that wasn’t helped by his side's lacklustre performance against Wigan last weekend. He now faces a striker crisis, with Darren Bent out for the rest of the season, Robbie Keane returning back to America and Gabriel Agbonlahor short of both form and fitness. Furthermore summer signing Charles N'Zogbia has been a huge disappointment.
McLeish will be desperate to get something from Villa’s upcoming games against Blackburn Rovers, Fulham and Bolton as they then face a tough fixture run with matches against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd in the space of three weeks. Expect his odds of 10/1 in the Next Premier League Manager To Be Sacked to be shortened if they continue their poor form.
Villa travel to 18th placed Blackburn on Saturday and if they come away empty handed they could be dragged into a relegation battle. At the moment they are eight points clear of the drop zone but we all know how quickly things can change in football. Rovers are the 7/5 favourites for the win with Paddy Power, while Villa can be backed at 15/8, with a draw available at 12/5.