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Does It Actually Matter That Gabi Agbonlahor Smoked Shisha?

The BBC has reported that Aston Villa have suspended Gabi Agbonlahor indefinitely. The veteran forward was pictured smoking a shisha pipe while on holiday in Dubai, and the club has suspended him from playing, pending an internal investigation. Here's the thing about that though: Does it really matter?

Gabi Agbonlahor

Photo: @MirrorFootball | Twitter

Interim boss Eric Black said he didn't want anything to "distract the players, and that Aston Villa's game against Chelsea should be about football and not about Gabi Agbonlahor." That's all fine and dandy, but we have a couple of observations to make.

Aston Villa have been far and away the worst team in the Premier League, with Remi Garde leaving the club with the lowest win percentage of any Villa manager in history. They have won just three games all season, have lost six in a row, haven't scored in three games, and have conceded 18 goals in the last six games. The players look well and truly done.

Gabi Agbonlahor

Photo: @TheEconomist | Twitter

So, can we really blame Agbonlahor, who was also with Villans captain Micah Richards, for getting away for a few days? If people are getting angry over the fact that a few Aston Villa players decided to take a load off, then they have their priorities completely skewed. 

The Villans have looked absolutely woeful, they've looked apathetic, and the club is now reaping what they have sown for the last few years. Poor transfer business, a bumbling hierarchy and an inability to establish any sort of identity or philosophy has left the club flopping like a fish out if water. In truth, the players have looked resigned since Christmas. Against Liverpool, they might as well have not even showed up. 

Gabi Agbonlahor

Photo: @tipsbladet | Twitter

You have to feel for the fans. Their frustration is completely understandable. But we have a feeling that fans are less angry about Gabi Agbonlahor smoking shisha than they are about the fact that none of their players have seemed to give a damn all season. Literally the only players who come out of this season with any sort of credit are Jordan Amavi, Jordan Ayew and Idrissa Gueye, who will probably all leave in the summer. 

As an interim coach thrown into a bad situation, we respect the fact that Eric Black is trying save the club and establish some sort of discipline, but he's essentially trying to plug holes on the Titanic with tissue paper. 

It's not that this sort of situation hasn't occurred before. We've seen it with Jack Wilshire, Wojciech Szczesny, and Raheem Sterling in the past. It's just that it's somewhat irrelevant now. In those situations, the players were at a highly competitive club, with tight margins between success and failure, and a definitive expectation of standards on their shoulders. 

Aston Villa on the other hand, can't string two passes together, couldn't score a goal if they tried for a millenia, generally play as if they are completely wasted, and seemed consigned to relegation from the moment they hit the bottom of the table. This momentary lapse of judgement from Agbonlahor is but a microcosm of the overall poor attitude of the players thus far.   

Gabi Agbonlahor

Photo: @eccles742 | Twitter

Now, you could argue that this trespass by Gabi Agbonlahor is representative of the mentality of the players, but few would make that argument against him. Gabi is a Villan through and through. He's a Birmingham boy who came up through the Aston Villa academy, and he was captain before the arrival of Micah Richards. He's given everything to the club, and he's one of the few players that you can say bleeds claret and blue. Yet, he's the one that gets thrown under the bus, despite the cast of goons who have put on absolutely shocking performances throughout the season. In a way, this business with Agbonlahor is poetic in that it showcases Aston Villa's fall from grace, and the lack of class and grace with which the owners have treated the club.

Aston Villa need relegation. As honorable as Eric Black's Leonidas-esque mentality is, there has never been a club that's needed it more. They need to completely start from scratch. They need to unload the players who clearly just go through the motions before collecting their paycheck. They need a serious overhaul of their management, business and scouting structure. They need to burn the deadwood down, in order to allow roots to grow again. 

And for that reason, nobody should give a rat's ass what Gabi Agbonlahor does on holiday. We do admire Black's desire to make things about football and only about football. Unfortunately, in Aston Villa's case, the solution to that problem is much, much more complex than a mere shisha pipe. 

Follow me on Twitter @J_Hansen_89

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