Woeful Villa on a downward spiral

LONDON • The opening-day victory over Bournemouth could soon prove to be the ultimate false dawn for Aston Villa, who have not won any of their subsequent 19 Premier League games.

They are only two short of the all-time record in the top division, held by Ipswich Town, who won their first match of the 1963-64 campaign but none of their following 21 league fixtures.

Villa's futile 19-game search for a league win is the longest in their history; should that be extended by four, only one of the present 20 top-flight clubs would have experienced a worse sequence - 25 matches by Norwich City in 1956-57.

Such has been their struggle this season that there have been more league debutants for the club (nine) than points won (eight).

For an established top-flight club in their 28th successive season among the elite, their points tally is remarkable - the Christmas festivities have passed and there is still nothing After Eight for Villa.

Even if they were to win all of their final 18 league games this season, they would still finish with fewer points (62) than they gained in 2009-10 (64), Martin O'Neill's last season in charge.

Not that Villa are receiving hammerings. They have suffered only one league defeat by more than a two-goal margin, the same number as Arsenal and one fewer than Manchester City.

Remi Garde has begun his reign as Villa manager exactly as Tim Sherwood finished his, by overseeing nine league games without a win.

Other points to note from last weekend's action:

Stoked up

Stoke City, facing West Bromwich Albion, became the first team for two years to receive three straight red cards against the same opponents in one Premier League season: Geoff Cameron was sent off on Saturday; Ibrahim Afellay and Charlie Adam were dismissed in August.

Blast against past

Two Englishmen scored against their previous clubs, one for a London team playing at home to Merseyside opponents and the other for a Merseyside team who were at home to London opponents: Andy Carroll for West Ham United against his old club Liverpool; Aaron Lennon for Everton against Tottenham Hotspur.

Getting hammered

By beating Liverpool 3-0 away and 2-0 at home, West Ham have scored the joint most goals without reply by any club against Liverpool in one league season since Derby County defeated the Merseysiders 4-0 and 2-0 in 1969-70.

Ticked off

Sadio and Saido are both reported to have annoyed their respective managers by lacking punctuality in the past week: Sadio Mane at Southampton and Saido Berahino at West Brom.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2016, with the headline 'Woeful Villa on a downward spiral'. Print Edition | Subscribe