After seeing two dismal home games during Christmas week, I am finding it difficult to take positives away from either performance. On Boxing Day, we were unlucky to lose, as Crystal Palace fielded a side as poor as our own on the day and neither team deserved to win. It was one of the worst games of football I have ever watched and I feel sorry for anyone who had to endure that match as part of a Christmas present. Aston Villa Football Club need to offer refunds for that game as the quality was no better than Sunday League.
Yesterday, I thought Lambert might give Helenius a chance in the starting line up against Swansea City, with Benteke back in Belgium and Kozak having had a miserable game on Boxing Day. Once again, Helenius only made the substitutes’ bench, which got me thinking about how bad Helenius must be that he is so out of favour with Lambert when Kozak is playing extremely poorly and Weimann can’t shoot or cross – or do anything apart from run around like a headless chicken. I find it hard to understand how he could be much worse than the average players we already have in our starting XI. Yesterday, the only player who seemed to have anything about him was Agbonlahor; he didn’t stop running and he tried to make something happen. The other ten men showed no passion for the cause and were as clueless as I think Lambert is.
For the first nine minutes we were passing the ball around and we managed to get an early lead. After taking the lead, we should have used our momentum and pressed on but, once again, we got all the men behind the ball and invited Swansea to attack time and time again.
The long ball came every time we got the ball and Guzan seemed to lack the capability to throw the ball out or play a short pass. We managed to make it to half time level but Lambert’s tactics were exactly the same for the second half – hoof the ball up field and invite more pressure. We were all relieved as fans, however, when Lambert decided to bring Kozak on, to give the team another player who can’t win the ball in the air. I can’t forget to mention Luna, who is another player I am completely baffled by: he gets beaten down the wings, constantly complains and is the slowest full back I have seen since Stephen Warnock. Lambert needs to realise Luna needs to be left back – in the changing rooms.
The bottom line is Villa has a very average side and we are going to be in a relegation scrap if we don’t invest or call time on Lambert. He is ultimately responsible for the mess the team is currently in. We gave him a season and a half of our patience and it’s finally clear that his long term plan is flawed. We are not going to have a future as a Premier League side if we don’t improve. He has purchased inexperienced players with ‘potential’ and none of his signings have been a success, or improved the team one bit, with the exception of Benteke and Lowton’s form last season. He spent £17 million in the summer and what have we gained? More clueless but young football players.
We have all given Lambert a lot of patience and support but I am afraid he should be on his way. If not, he needs to bring in some experience and knock his long term plan on the head.
It’s difficult to see a team you are so passionate about in this dire state: I am bored at matches and I have little hope that we will get any sort of result, especially at home.
Here’s to some real bargains in the January sales and a happier New Year.