Too many draws, too many dodgy penalties, and too much brinksmanship. Aston Villa are still in a state of transition, even if their performances are often better than their results.
But at least they can celebrate a goal by Milan Baros. The Czech Republic international striker ended eight months of frustration when he scored for Villa away to Sheffield United on Monday night. His previous goal for Villa was against Birmingham City in April, when David O'Leary was in charge and when a relegation battle was being fought.
Times have changed. Villa are in better shape, Baros is still suffering from a World Cup hangover, and Birmingham have since endured relegation.
Villa's 2-2 draw against Sheffield United represented more dropped points and another missed opportunity to move into the top five of the Premiership.
The result frustrated Baros — victory was there for the taking — but his goal eased his personal misery after a long spell of poor form, injury, and uncertainty.
The leading scorer at Euro 2004, a European Cup winner with Liverpool in 2005, but an isolated figure in 2006 — Baros has lived a lifetime in 30 months.
But, psychologically, few of his goals were more important than that which he scored at Bramall Lane this week. A forgotten man no more, he nevertheless still has to justify his #6.5 million transfer fee and prove to Martin O'Neill, the Villa manager, that there are goals to match the reputation.
"It's always nice to score in front of the Villa supporters," Baros told Villa World TV News. "It would be nice to go on a run of goals now. That is my aim.
"But the most important thing is the points. If I don't score in the next game and it's three points for Villa, that's better than if we lose and I do score.
"Of course I am happy when I score and I will try to score in the next game. But the most important thing will always be points and we got just one on Monday. We need some wins.
"I was pleased to get my first goal of the season, but still disappointed with the result. It was like Portsmouth, when we were 1-0 up at half-time and then went behind, before we had to equalize for the draw.
"It's a shame, because that was one of those games we should win. But that's football and we have to carry on trying to win games, not just drawing.
"Playing against teams like Sheffield United can be very tough. They look for the long balls, the long throw-ins and try to score from set-pieces."
Baros, aged 25, played alongside Chris Sutton on Monday and there was much hope for O'Neill, who relegated Juan Pablo Angel to the substitutes' bench in a search for the striking partnership that can turn chances into goals into victories.
Two of the more experienced strikers in the Premiership, Baros and Sutton performed well, in spite of the result.
"He [Sutton] is a good player," Baros said. "He heads the ball well and wins it for the other players. It was good to have him back and now he is fit Chris Sutton is definitely going to help us."
Whether Baros and Sutton can maintain their partnership when Villa play Bolton Wanderers at home on Saturday remains to be seen. O'Neill still has options, even if he is likely to sign at least one striker during the transfer window next month.
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