With just 6 points from 16 games, the future is looking bleak for Aston Villa. So much so that odds of 1/10 are being widely offered for the Premier League ever-presents to be playing their football in the Championship next season.
A six-pointer against fellow strugglers Newcastle on Saturday is seen by many as the last stand at the O.K. Corral for the one time European Cup Winners with former players and pundits alike predicting that the Magpies could hammer the final nail in the Villains' coffin with a win on Saturday evening. Radio presenter and former Newcastle striker Micky Quinn wrote in the Chronicle: "I honestly believe Villa look beaten already; it’s as if they’ve now accepted their fate. I simply do not think the belief is there amongst the players to get them out of it." While Ex-Villa skipper Paul McGrath was even more damning – claiming that Aston Villa "are going to be second division next year, probably third division after and we are not going to come back"
With confidence low and heads dropping within the playing side of the camp, manager Remi Garde is running out of options. With Randy Lerner unlikely to hand a sizable war chest to the Frenchman in January, the former Lyon Head Coach may be resigned to looking at fresh faces from inside the club to inspire confidence in the rest of the team. One player within the ranks that could make the difference is Australia U20 international Jordan Lyden, who made the bench for the first time this season in Sunday’s 0-2 defeat to Arsenal. The central midfielder, who can also play out wide, was involved in pre-season games against Walsall and Swindon and could get some pitch time over the busy Christmas period.
Speaking to AVTV HD, Garde told of his admiration for the club’s u21 captain, "What I saw of Jordan is a very committed player in training sessions. He has a lot of energy - and is always positive. He is young, without experience - but he has skills, talent and spirit.”
Villa unearthed a gem in Jack Grealish in similar circumstances last term and while Lyden’s not likely to start this weekend at St. James Park, the 19-year old is almost certainly going to make the 18-man squad. Whether or not he provides the difference to keep the Birmingham outfit in the top flight next season remains to be seen, but Dugout FC managers would do well to add the Aussie to their Watch List, as many predict this young, committed player will have a bright future and his energy could be the catalyst to sparking some confidence and a revival within the Villa ranks.