Stoke Teach Aston Villa A Lesson

illya mclellanSenior Analyst IMarch 2, 2009

Martin O'Neill and his Aston Villa side are riding high in the league this season and have dispatched many who have taken the pitch to battle with them so far.

The Villa faithful would have been confident they would turn up and watch their side pick up three points against a Stoke side that have been far less than impressive on their travels this season.

At 2-0 to the home side with five minutes left on the clock, it seems the players also thought they had it in the bag as well. Because when the whistle blew five minutes later and the dust had settled on a absolutely frenetic period of insanity, it was 2-2 and somehow Villa had blown a two goal lead.

Once again it shows how quickly a game can change, but also how waiting for the whistle can cost you dearly.

This lesson has probably come at a very good time for Villa though as they now will look to finish the season strongly and it could be that they find themselves in this position a few more times in the next few weeks.

The last thing that Martin O'Neill would want would be to miss out on top tier Europe because of a few draws and narrow losses, thanks to a lack of concentration.

Over the match Tony Pulis's side had really shown that they will not drop without a fight and with James Beattie playing strongly along with Ricardo Fuller returning from injury they certainly have the quality needed to avoid the drop.

It is going to be one hell of a scrap over the wad of cash that is Premiership survival.

The contrast in the respective dressing rooms would have been disturbing to a psychologist/psychiatrist who studied football but had no love for the game, in fact they would probably have labelled both groups as insane, one insanely depressed and one insanely elevated.

But there is the lesson for Villa, whether they are in the Champions League next season or UEFA Cup it will now hinge on how they learn from this lesson from Stoke City.