Last Monday night, Aston Villa sunk to a sorry 4-0 loss away to Leicester City.
It saw little fight from Villa and was a display lambasted by fans, pundits and, if reports are to be believed, the Aston Villa board.
John Percy from the Telegraph reported on Tuesday that if Villa boss Dean Smith fails to secure a positive result in in their next fixture, then he'll be given the sack.
It's the latest in a line of famous, or in this case infamous, results for the Birmingham giants over this seven day period, beginning in 2018.
Aston Villa 4-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers (10th March 2018)
A blossoming rivalry
Tension had been building between the Villans and Wolves for weeks building up to this one.
A war of words was building up between now ex-Aston Villa owner Dr Tony Xia and the Wolves board over the ethics of superagent Jorge Mendes' involvement with the club. Not a day passed by without the two sets of supporters arguing over social media about footballing ethics.
On the pitch, both teams were up there with the best in the league. Wolves were storming to the title, going for 100 points and had broken the Championship transfer record to bring in Ruben Neves over the summer. Meanwhile, Villa had their sights set on automatic promotion alongside their Midlands rivals with John Terry as the captain.
The atmosphere was palpable at Villa Park before the game. Terry walked off the pitch after the warm-up looking as if he was ready for war. Well, it was war he got.
Battlestar Villa Park
It was a tight, fraught first half. Albert Adomah, Villa's top scorer from the left wing, scrambled the ball over the line to put the hosts ahead in the eighth minute. It was level from Diogo Jota after 20 minutes, but it wasn't the goals that made this so enthralling.
The tackles flew in throughout the first half, with Wolves exclusively focusing on Jack Grealish. No less than 27 fouls were conceded between the two sides during this game, a trend which would come to haunt Wolves in the second half. Even though this was a rivalry that had only blossomed that season, it played like it was centuries old.
Two quick strikes from James Chester and Lewis Grabban either side of the hour mark gave the hosts a two goal cushion, but it was the fourth that put the icing on Villa's cake. Birkir Bjarnasson picked the ball up halfway inside the Wolves' half. The Icelandic midfielder proceeded to dance around the Wolves defence and stuck a low effort past John Ruddy to get Villa's fourth.
While Villa had the bragging rights in the Midlands, the result would ultimately have little impact. Wolves won the league with 99 points, Villa finished fourth and lost the Play Off final to Fulham in May. Xia's financial irresponsibility would bring the club to the brink of administration and manager Steve Bruce would be sacked in October.
Birmingham City 0-1 Aston Villa (10th March 2019)
Exactly a year on, Villa and Birmingham played out the Second City Derby in very different circumstances for both sides.
Villa were having a very difficult season in the Championship. After a rocky start and the aforementioned dismissal of Steve Bruce in October, they were sitting in mid-table. They had recently been booed off after a 2-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion. Fans were resigned to a fourth season of Championship football.
Meanwhile. Birmingham were staring down the barrel of a major points deduction and had already been hit with a transfer ban. With two bitter rivals in such dire straits, tensions were bound to boil over.
...call for desperate measures
And boil over they did. Maikel Kieftenbeld was lucky to avoid a fourth minute red card for a late foul on Jack Grealish. Just six minutes later, Birmingham City fan Paul Mitchell ran onto the pitch and punched the Villa captain in the back of the head.
Mitchell is tackled by a steward while the Villa players do their best to attack him themselves. Dean Smith later said he considered bringing the players off the pitch there and then until the home fans were ejected. However, the game carried on as normal with the full set of fans present.
With a vengeance
The second Mitchell ran onto the pitch, it was written into the stars what was going to happen next. He had to wait until the 67th minute, but Grealish got his goal. A driven effort from the edge of the box rolled up the net and the iconic line of “a sweet, sweet moment for Jack Grealish” was written into Villa folklore by the Sky Sports commentary team.
Birmingham couldn’t find a response, with Craig Gardner missing a sitter late on to the delight of the claret and blue faithful. Cue carnage in the away end as the double was secured over their Second City rivals.
Sink or swim
Little did Villa know at the time as they rose to ninth, but they would win their next eight games in a row, only being stopped by Leeds United and Norwich City. The Villains were a juggernaut as they stormed back into the top flight with a play-off final win over Derby County in May.
As for the Blues, they were eventually hit with a nine-point deduction and manager Garry Monk was sacked at the end of the season. He was replaced by his assistant Pep Clotet who has done his best to turn the club around on the pitch in the face of a desperate boardroom situation
Leicester City 4-0 Aston Villa (9th March 2020)
All good things must come to an end
It had already been a torrid season for Villa, sitting in 19th having recently lost the Carabao Cup Final to Manchester City. They had spent big but gotten little back for their money with many big-money signings failing to make much of an impact.
Leicester meanwhile, were having a sticky patch but still sat pretty at third in the league table. They had beaten Villa 4-1 in the reverse league game, but also lost to the Villans over two legs in the Carabao Cup semi-final.
You already know the details so there’s no need to go over them again. A double from Jamie Vardy and goals from Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho gave Leicester the win.
Without a trace
What stung most for all Villa fans wasn’t the fact that they lost, it was how they lost. There was none of the fight or desire present when they last played the Foxes. Pepe Reina was seen laughing after his calamity allowed Barnes to open the scoring. It seemed as if the Villa players simply didn’t care.
Pressure again started to mount on Villa boss Dean Smith from the fans and the board alike. If the season is completed, Villa are one of the favourites to be relegated to the Championship next season.
In a cruel twist of fate, the suspension of the season could be the only thing that can save the Villans this season.