Seventy hours after the final whistle of their FA Cup fourth round defeat against Arsenal, a bedraggled Aston Villa back-line are still battling in vain to clear the ball from their penalty box, a statement on the clubÃ¢ÂÂs website has revealed.
Villa looked set to spring a cup shock when they took a 2-0 lead into half-time at the Emirates Stadium, but reality set in as some slipshod defending saw McLeishÃ¢ÂÂs men fall to a 3-2 defeat.
And things have gone from bad to worse for Villa fans as the club have admitted on their website that their jobbing back four still havenÃ¢ÂÂt managed to clear their lines, almost three days after their opponents left the pitch.
Despite the upbeat headline "Villa close to getting routine cross clear", video clips showing a clearly exhausted Alan Hutton drilling clearance after clearance into the back of a bruised and bloodied Richard Dunne while a confused Stephen Warnock spins around in small circles have raised serious concerns about the future of the club.
An interview with ineffective managerial growly-man Alex McLeish, whose top button is now irrevocably undone, betrayed the severity of the situation.
Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs no secret that weÃ¢ÂÂve no[t] cleared the ball yet,Ã¢ÂÂ the Big Eck rasped while straightening out a sleeping bag on the edge of the technical area.
Ã¢ÂÂArsenal are a talented side, but at this point weÃ¢ÂÂve got only ourselves to blame. ItÃ¢ÂÂs a big worry because at any point you feel Van Persie could drop by again and punish us.Ã¢ÂÂ
McLeish is under pressure to resolve the situation quickly after coming in for severe criticism when Villa conceded twice against Wolves a fortnight ago while their defensive quartet tried to unlock Gabby AgbonlahorÃ¢ÂÂs new phone.
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