Progress is minimal

15

This season has been mooted by the media and the club as one of progression. Apparently, we have an inconsistent team but it is one that is progressing nevertheless. I have my reservations about this.

Progression is the process of developing gradually towards a more advanced state. In terms of points on the board and goal difference, progression is being achieved. Slowly but surely, Lambert is turning his players into a more solid team: there has been no repeat of our 8-0 hammering, for instance, and the players’ success in shutting Chelsea out for ninety minutes is not to be sneezed at. The fact is that, although not mathematically safe, we have hauled ourselves away from the relegation dogfight earlier than we did last season.

Our progression is not just seen on the pitch but also off it, getting big earners such as Richard Dunne and Stephen Ireland off the wage bill leaves the club with a more sustainable wage bill. Although there are still some players to get rid of, the club’s coffers are benefitting.

Some of the players brought in by Lambert have also helped us to progress. In signing Benteke, Lambert has given us a striker the rest of the league fears and who gives us not just goals but also a base to start our attacks from. Lowton, Bertrand, Luna and Bennett all have been vying for starting positions, which has increased competition for a place in the defence. I must say that this competition is working: Bennett’s performance against Chelsea is one that both surprised and encouraged me. Lambert enhancing the playing staff and providing an environment of competition is progression from the days when players just turned up and waited for the next pay cheque. The enhancement of our team has made us a team that, on its day, is capable of beating any other team in the league. This is down to Paul Lambert.

However, I find our progression minimal at best. Our style of football is of concern to me. I see Everton, Spurs, Southampton and Swansea all playing really attractive possession-based football. They have a style they play and they stick to it. They may get come unstuck from time to time but they have a refined possession-style game, albeit different types, that’s attractive and wins them games. I fail to see us having a style: we can not keep the ball for longer than four passes and certain players seem to think the long ball to Benteke is our only option for retention. Can our inconsistency be down to this? I certainly think it’s a factor. Counter-attacking isn’t a style. I do not see how scoring a goal and then defending for dear life can be considered a style either.

Our progression is also minimal in our over reliance on key players. Benteke misses a chance or goes a run of games without scoring and the pressure on the man, who many forget is still young, is immense. Other players like Delph and Westwood should be helped by experienced players. I know Lambert doesn’t want older players but the fact of the matter is that in games in which we need someone to steady the ship and help us out we haven’t got anyone to call on. In some games that’s the difference between a draw or loss. We need players who will take the burden off Benteke, Delph and even Vlaar; when they have bad games others should step up to the plate.

Progression is minimal because of where we are: yes, we are mid-table and we have a better points total, marginally, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that we are still mathematically involved in a relegation dogfight, just as we were last season. In my opinion, that does not suggest progress and no amount of convenient statistics will hide this fact.

The media say we are progressing but we are inconsistent because of our young team. Well, I believe we are making minimal progress, on and off the field, and are inconsistent not because of the youth but because of the lack of style and clear direction.

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I’m twenty-three and a lifelong Villa supporter. I have been a season ticket holder (with one year’s exception) since the age of seven.

I was born and bred in Brum and live and breathe everything Aston Villa.

Away from football, I’m currently on my way to graduating with an English degree and I’m a part time baker.

Contact me on Twitter: @levimicahbrown

15 COMMENTS

  1. We are more of a shambles than we ever were at the tail-end of last season.

    I don’t believe that there has been any progression. We are standing still, marking time, and with no doubt another summer transfer window of bringing in cheap, below average bodies instead of genuine much needed quality, the fear is that the 2014-15 campaign will be another disappointing season.

    Sooner rather than later, if we continue along the current path, relegation will be the result. The writing is on the wall.

  2. We have such a poor quality squad – Lambert has purchased a whole bunch of sub-standard players, perhaps 2 or 3 are even of PL standard ( and he inherited 2 of those!) Worst Villa team in living memory.

    As Ron Atkinson says, we are insignificant. I would say totally insignificant and we were never that, even in the third division we always had a little magic.

    Boycotting the ground is regrettably the only way to make a point guys, I am afraid. Tough love. If you go to Villa Park you are contributing to the problem, end of…

    Steve.

  3. Worst Manchester United team that I personally have seen since the shower that took them down to the old second division in 73-74.

    Yet they were still well capable of hammering us 4-1 while never remotely reaching the heights. Says it all really.

    We are in trouble. If we do stay up, then next season will merely be a repeat of this sad affair. Or, more than likely even worse, if someone amongst the Villa Park hierarchy doesn’t decide that enough is enough, and opts to take the required action to get this great club of ours back on track.

    That ‘performance’ yesterday, and I use that description extremely lightly, coming on the back of the Stoke City reversal, was totally unacceptable.

    Devoid of quality, ideas, know how, passion, effort and pride in the shirt.

    Simply nowhere near good enough.

  4. We will stay up. We have too many games we would need to squander to jeopardize our Premier League with our points. However, next season we must make the leap from a relegation candidate back to Europa contenders. Whether that means a change in ownership if Randy is unwilling to commit or a change of coach or neither if Randy fully backs Paul, one thing that is vital for this transition is money, which we have been deprived of for seasons. However, I am not a backer of Randy; a true villain would never appoint a bluenose whatever his excuse. Ink on his body or not, why should we trust him for this, yet not just for this, but the nation of the U.S.A shuns soccer as it is less popular than the NFL. Randy does not understand our pains while he sits in his banking throne somewhere in a mansion. I believe he supports us but not with his full heart. Therefore, I feel new ownership would be better. A new start, new manager, new players, new style etc. Although by new owner, I wouldn’t mind some rich Saudi throwing his oil on us and not really caring otherwise, so long as he doesn’t turn our kit white and call us Red Bull Aston Villa

  5. The mere fact you even describe that this season even has minimal progress really begs the question of….What on earth you consider progress? There has been zero progress and this team is not more solid like most make out.

  6. Sorry boys don’t see it the same way at all. Everton and Southampton have not been rebuilt from worse than nothing. Lambert has rebuilt Villa after a period of gross miss management and over spending by MON. He did not start with a clean sheet, his position was worse than when he brought Norwich up, at least there he had a highly motivated squad of players he had been working with on sustainable wages. He started with poorly motivated preposterously wealthy ageing players on salaries unsustainable given the level of support we have. We now have 13 players all highly motivated and of premiership quality the majority between 22-24 and a couple with the potential to get to that level ( Bennet, Helenius) and money to spend in the summer. Benteke may go but I feel much less dependent on him than this time last year. The defence don’t concede goalies for fun, and we are a player short of a decent midfield, and have three strikers who are not completely impotent even minus benteke. UTV Ivo

  7. No progress at all! Simply avoiding relegation is not good enough. Do not understand player selection. Bacuna from half way line towards there goal is o.k. but from half way line towards our goal he has not got a clue. He is not a defender and has no positional sense. Not picking on him, I like him in the other team’s half of pitch but not down by our penalty area.

  8. The last two matches have finally convinced me that after following the Villa since the late 60’s, next season will see me not buy a Season Ticket and maybe I will pick and choose a few matches to go to. To watch the Villa, I have a round trip of up to 5 hours plus all the associated costs and I will not be doing this any more for a side lacking in the passion that I have for my team.
    Even in the days of the old 3rd division we had some spark about us which kept you following home and away with a real passion …. great days!
    Nowadays, with stupid kick-off times plus a ‘team’ that lacks spark and a game-plan I can see more people not bothering to renew their season ticket ……. which may just make the club do something about the present state of affairs – even if it is to talk to us, their customers, once in a while and explain the vision that they have.
    Sad days ………….

  9. Standing still and only just still standing. At least last season we felt there was potential, and that this season it would start to bear fruit. Sadly, that optimism is fading fast. We will stay up this season but how many fans will want to watch the ‘project’ again next year? Problem is, changing manager again is no solution if lack of money is the problem.

  10. This is no progress whatsoever on the field. Lambert has had two seasons now to get this defence right and there has been no progress whatsoever. We have let in 8 goals in the last two matches both against teams hardly setting the league on fire. The only progress has been off the field where the wage bill has been vastly reduced only by giving players we paid over the odds for away for nothing.
    Ireland typifies our club he was signed by who exactly as we didn’t have a manager when he was taken as makeweight on the Milner deal.
    This management team starting with Lerner and going right down to the coaching staff are taking us no where.

  11. We are inconsistent because of our inadequate squad of over rated players who would struggle in the Championship. Of the 15 players Lambert has brought in, only Benteke is Premier league standard, a couple might get there but are not what I would rate as top players to take us forward.

    To see them struggle, and lose, against the likes of lower league sides in cup games, sums the whole state of our lot up. The manager is building a squad to survive in the Premier league, but even that is a struggle. Can you imagine our squad challenging for a top 4 place, that is laughable, as for playing in Europe, forget it.

    There must be expensive, experienced quality players added, and more than just a couple, to make any inroads and take us forward. Lambert is not capable of doing that, because he likes a “project”, which is the most ludicrous word I have ever heard leave the mouth of any Aston Villa manager. He is not the man to take our club forward on the pitch.

    Randy Lerner? He is not the owner to take us forward, he seems happy with what’s happening on the pitch, which he watches from across the Atlantic, and has a post game chat with Lambert and Faulkner, is that any way to run a successful club? NO! There is no ambition at Aston Villa except from us the supporters, and we don’t really figure in the owners plans, to justify that comment, just have a look at his ownership of the Cleveland Browns, we are a mirror of what happened there.

  12. As long as Lambert is there and we are playing the footbal we have been then I have no intention of going anywhere near Villa Park. I went to Fulham away back in December and have not been to a game since. Driving up from Luton, ticket, couple of pints, food, programme does not give much change out of £80. For what? To watch truly awful football with little or no passion. No Thanks.

  13. Unfortunately I love the Villa too much to stop going and supporting them. No matter what happens I’ll go down every fortnight and stand behind the players and club

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