By Randy Osae
This – ruing what might have been in the past – is contrary to what should be done to aid Arsenal’s contemplation of regaining their top four status but while playing second fiddle to Villa’s dark-horse push at fifth place, the feeling of denouncing Aston Villa’s outrageously fortuitous run is very inevitable.
It definitely shouldn’t. But is it just me or Aston Villa are enjoying astonishing gift of flukes and windfalls from referees and opponent’s comic blunders. Some call it character – and credit is precisely due to them – but watching Aston Villa week in and week out (despite with a yearn of them dropping points) and seeing them come through stainless when you bet your soul they did not deserve to, given circumstances in the match is irritating.
Emphasizing this point with instances will be to begin with their trip to West Ham in late December. The Hammers fancied the better football and chances to take a point at least, but a deflected own goal, 12 minutes from time was their undoing. That, can be acknowledged as football nonetheless but not when it’s as perpetual like this.
Arsenal looked to have repaid them of their unfair fortunes by beating Villa when they hit the bar three times in the opening minutes of that pulsating clash at Villa Park. In the end, it was an accomplished finish with a weaker foot by Zat Knight – a man you could trust to squander given he is an average lanky center-back – that kept the Gunners from one momentous triumph. On that day, even Knight of all people could unleash such a scintillating strike in additional time and Villa again… Lady Luck had them covered.
Next up was away to Hull for Martin O’Neill’s side and the lightening conjured at West Ham struck twice. Again, an own goal undid the total sway Phil brown’s side showed. Not even a point went their way and it looked to, when the referee pointed to the spot in injury time rewarding a penalty. But in the most unlikely scenarios of football, the man in charge reversed his decision after consultation from Gareth Barry and his assistant official. It was not a penalty as replays showed, but when was the last time a referee’s decision was under-sided like this?
As if that was enough, Villa beat West Brom 2-1 this new year, and the match winner was an absolutely occasional wobble by Scott Carson who turned Agbonlahor’s harmless low cross into his own net. Even Villa’s forward look bewildered about how Christmas alms had never ceased yet for his side after that goal.
If anything, on another day, just any other day, this would have definitely being otherwise.
And you will not need another synopsis of what happened this weekend when Sunderland commanded well with a 1-0 lead, Villa equalized with a blatant handball and later a dubious penalty decision right out of the box settled matters in their favor and oh, not to forget with ten men…..wow…just wow.
It sounds like they grind out results with spirit and temperament, but with their conspicuously thin squad and lack of abundant match winners, this is a spell of solitary luck.
And who am I to even keep bemoaning their fortunes, Martin O’Neill’s men are still well positioned ahead of us and if they add their patent menace to this, then Arsenal WILL be replaced in the set of English clubs contesting in Europe’s elite and lucrative competition next season.
But as always, you just get that sinking feeling when out of nothing and only one other team looked divined of the points, Villa wrench it away with the most ludicrous of marvels.
And if you think Arsenal have gained fairly as the Villans from Lady luck, then reconsider the fact that the Gunners have been denied by the woodork most than any other club in Europe – 12 times this season, that is. Very gracious huh?
Everyone benefits from luck, but when will Villa’s heavily indulged fortunes end?