This season we, as Villa fans, have seen a lot of different starting line-ups and constant changes in formation. Even if we win a game Lambert still changes things, hoping to see the same result and possibly a better performance next time out, but all too often this season we have seen this strategy fail. This has led me to the conclusion the Paul Lambert does not know what his current strongest XI is.
Recently, we have seen our side give a strong and encouraging performance at Anfield which was followed by a dramatic win over the Baggies. There was only one change to Villa’s starting XI in those two matches. The change saw Lowton brought back into the starting line-up against West Brom for Gabby Agbonlahor, who had picked up a knock during the match against Liverpool.
Despite these promising results Lambert decided to completely shuffle the team about for the away trip to Everton at the weekend. This saw two big changes made to the side that started the previous, game along with a completely new shape to the formation. This was yet another example of Lambert not knowing his strongest starting XI, given the players available due to injuries.
I recently asked fans on Twitter to suggest Villa’s strongest XI if we had no injured players in our current squad. This was the response I got from most people who replied and I’d have to agree with them:
I then asked Villa fans who follow me on Twitter to name our current strongest XI given injuries and suspensions. The majority came up with this and once again I agree as this would’ve been the side I would’ve picked myself, although it is not yet known if Vlaar and Agbonlahor will be fit for this weekend’s game against West Ham.
The question this then leads me to is: if we, the fans, can see our strongest side, why cant Lambert? Is there something he sees in training that we don’t get to see or is this just the way he likes to manage his team, with plenty of squad rotation as he tries to get the most out of all the players he has available to him?
I for one would rather have a settled starting line-up and then work around that, only making changes when necessary.