Desperate Times at Villa

27

After another loss at the weekend, relegation fears, which were practically non-existent a month ago, have now become a nightmare for the club and the fans.

The players looked like they were completely devoid of any confidence against Swansea and Lambert himself now looks like a man who is expecting to be sacked come the end of the season. After a brief period in the game which we looked dangerous, a great through-ball from Jonjo Shelvey exposed a high Villa back line and, as a marginally offside Wilfried Bony collected the ball, the Ivorian was through one on one with Guzan and coolly slotted past the ‘keeper to break the deadlock.

To give the Villans some credit, after Swansea’s opening goal they showed a bit of fight and scored a good equaliser. After some good wing play by Marc Albrighton, he whipped in a fantastic cross which was begging to be put into the back of the net and Gabby Agbonlahor obliged.

albrighton goal_facup
Albrighton was one of the few players who played well and was Villa’s danger man

Individual errors from both Guzan and Vlaar led to Shelvey scoring a contender for goal of the season, reminiscent of Stan Petrov’s strike against Derby County a few seasons ago. At this point, the result seemed a foregone conclusion as the goal completely knocked the wind out of the sails of the players. From there on, the Villa players’ heads dropped.

If there were any fans of Paul Lambert remaining in the Villa faithful then Saturday’s performance was probably the ultimate tipping point and it now seems undeniable that he cannot continue as Villa’s manager. The away fans, who travelled for hours to get to Swansea, witnessed a terrible display of football and they voiced their opinions loudly towards the end of the match and after the final whistle.

I do feel sorry for Lambert because he has had to work under severe constraints but the displays of his team this season have been terrible. I really wanted Lambert to succeed, honestly, but it just wasn’t to happen. Maybe this job was too big a task for him. However, if that is the case then why did he take it in the first place? I know he had a soft spot for Villa and maybe this was a dream job for him but it just hasn’t worked. Randy Lerner is clearly to blame in my opinion as, with a bit more backing, this situation we find ourselves in could have been a much better one.

Nathan Baker needs to be dropped. As much as I like him for his hard work and commitment, he is accident prone. Ciaran Clark has to be recalled to the starting line up. I’m not sure why he’s been dropped as we were more solid defensively when Vlaar and Clark had a decent partnership going. I feel more secure when Clark is playing alongside Vlaar and I assume Vlaar feels the same.

ciaranclark
Clark has to be recalled in the defence. Baker has been a liability in recent weeks

I don’t need to tell you that the next game is a massive one – possibly one of the biggest games in our recent history in terms of what is on the line. If we avoid defeat then I think we are safe from relegation. I’m really hoping that the Hull players will be keeping one eye each on their trip to Wembley for the FA Cup Final and that plays a factor in their performance against us.

Last Saturday, the Tigers snatched a late draw against Fulham. Who would have thought that Villa fans would be thanking Shane Long for scoring what could quite possibly be the goal which kept us in the league?

With so much at stake this Saturday, I urge you all to get down to Villa Park and cheer the boys on; God knows they need all the encouragement they can get!

27 COMMENTS

  1. Were we more secure with foul a minute Clark? But perhaps I exaggerate. Certainly there were many who called for him to be droppped in favour of Baker. But it’s all to easy to blame the defence when the goals against tally rises but maybe if more use was made of Villa’s possession of the ball @ the other end the defence would not be under so much pressure.

  2. We need a real fight on Saturday to beat Hull. I would like our forwards tackle a lot more. Just look at the top teams, they all get close to the other side and don’t let players move. We tend to stand off, our defence lets the forwards run at them instead of getting close. Don’t give them a run at all, don’t let Shane Long loose.

    Wake up Lambert and get at the defence and wake our team. It’s your last chance Paul.

  3. Good article, agree with what you have said! For any fans that really care unite, your team needs you like never before! To the players I say make us proud. Got everything crossed.

  4. Can’t bring myself to go to Villa Park saturday becauce it is so drab. Won’t even watch them anymore on tv. I’ve supported Villa 48 years and this season has been the final nail, can’t believe I’d rather spend the day in the garden. Well done Randy, you have broke me. Uou said you were only a custodian well JOG ON!

  5. Hmm 48 years and presumably watching Villa in Div III was better! But then they do say that the past & what might be in the future is always better than the present when times are hard. But is it really true?

    • Hmm Johnny Come Lately but were you there? I guess the answer is not so that renders your opinion on the the matter invalid.
      And it appears you’re happy with our present plight but what was that famous Phineas Taylor Barnum quote? Oh that’s it “There’s a sucker born every minute!”

  6. How many minutes would a defender stay on the pitch at a “foul a minute”. Rhetorical question. Also, Full stops are in fact available without the trailing appendages.

  7. Agree with Stuart I’ve been going down villa park since my first game in 1968 and we are a total shambles of a club, I ve never left so many games early…… My seat has remained empty since the shocking mauling by Stoke and I won’t return whilst lambert is in charge. Lerner I’m sure you meant well but this project under your leadership has failed in every way possible. Thanks for trying but it’s time to go

  8. I’m with Joe lovejoy we have a fantastic club and many good times. Lambert has done his job ie slashed the wage bill, buy some bargain players capable of premiership football, develop the largest crop of youth players in the first team we have ever had and keep us up. Randy has quite rightly had enough and employed Lambert with that remit to make us a saleable asset. I would argue Lambert has been a success although given the standards he set himself as a player and a manager he would disagree. The major problem this season has been the depth of the squad, Our best eleven can give any side a game on their day, but the impact of injuries to key players is devastating in terms of outcome. It is essential we stick with Lambert if not it will be another wasted year. He knows who is targets are dependant on budget. As fans we should do what we do best and support? Perhaps not as Lovejoy pointed out regardless of the underlying cause because we are in the elite of premiership whingers
    Upthevilla IVO

  9. Well eldoradoslim you just proved the point that punctuation is the provence of those who have little else to talk about. As for fouls well I think you have a lot to learn!

  10. Need to stick with Lambert. Injuries have hit us hard this year otherwise we would be ok. Moyes was fighting relegation for years with Everton before turning them Into regular top 6 side. Stick with Lambert give him his final year.

  11. Lambert has proven he is tactically unaware, lacks motivational skills (another dour Scot!) and has no relationship with the fans. It is time for a change. We need to take a chance and find our Rodgers or Martinez.

  12. I have been a regular since 1962, and a season ticket holder since 1968. The 3rd Division days WERE fantastic because we had BELIEF that this was the start of rebuilding the club and returning to former glories. Ten years later we were Champions of Europe . Villa had been in serious decline (sound familiar) until Doug Ellis, Pat Matthews et al came in and appointed Tommy Docherty. Yes, we had to go down before we came back up, but we all believed and knew it would happen. Attendances went from 14,000 to 40,000. Belief and hope. That is what is lacking now. The money based Premier and Champions League have taken away that belief and hope for most clubs. Randy, in fairness, tried to rebuild that belief. It didn’t work, but thank him for trying. Once Citeh came on the scene he knew it was an impossible task and started to lose interest. Lambert had a plan, like Dortmund. At the end of last season, we had hope again. Sadly, it has completely evaporated. Injuries, lack of quality in depth, poor tactics. All to blame. I will be there v Hull, screaming and cheering. Definitely no boos, BUT will I be there next season? I need some belief and hope.

  13. In response to Barry’sboots. I thought we actually approached Martinez
    and he never turned up. We even sent a plane for Solskar. No up and coming young manager would lock into Lerners vision. No wonder Martin O’Neill did a runner when he was privy to the “vision” No more than anything we need a new owner now with Lambert and Faulkner out as well. There is so much wrong at the moment with coaches being disciplined and Academy managers taking early retirement what a mess.
    If its going to be new American owners lets hope they have the sense to put a couple of “football” men on the board with them. At least then the manager would get local support instead of a weekly phone call from 6000 miles away.

  14. invalid comments pongo ? And making assumption about those you know nothing about !Yes that does just about sum up those who would rather rant than support the club through both the good & bad times .
    And yes these are worrying times even though with a little luck Villa will survive, to continue the rebuilding process which has been so badly affected by injuries to key players

  15. Did MON run from what you claim was Lerners vision , or could it be that he ran from an impending vision of doom of his creation ? Half way through MON’s last season I was predicting problems if the MON’s starting 11 were not given proper time to recover from the injuries they were rushed back from .
    Of course Lerner had to call time on the financial debacle rather than fund the crazy spending spree that MON needed to have making his usual last minute purchases of over priced players from the “bargain basement” if he was not to lose face when those injuries caught up with his starting 11, which was exactly what happened before the mega defeat against Toon .
    Yes it’s easy to blame Lerner for not producing the dosh , but in real terms what had MON won for the club other than the Peace Cup ? Three 6th place finishes & a lot of debt that’s what .
    But what is Lerner’s vision ? All we hear are his critics claims of what it might be but are they correct ? It would seem the books are nearly balanced so could that mean that the brakes that have been firmly aplied for the last 4 years be about to be released ?
    Could Lerner be about to sell as some claim ? Many rumours suggest new yank owners , but then there is also talk of Arabs . And that is interesting as there is also talk of investment & that’s where it get’s very interesting as one of the rumoured target players from last season had owners, other than the club he was at , & part of the Arab rumours suggest that they own players !
    There is of course the possibility that Lerner has a far greater vision than his critics give him credit for , but I guess we will have to wait untill the season ends to find out what his plans are
    However with a little constructive thought it is possible to see several different scenarios as to what might be in the pipe line

  16. Injuries to key players has been our biggest problem. Lambert needs time like Moyes at Everton. Unfortunately we don’t have a squad big enough to cope with so many injuries. I’m sure Kozak would have been a big hit this season along with Okore.

    We do need to invest however & bring in a few more quality players that will improve our first team & not our reserve team!

    We need a centre back, left back , right back, two wingers, a creative midfielder

  17. The main difference between Moyes going to Everton and Lambert coming here is that Moyes actually had a few decent players already at the club when he arrived where as Lambert had little or nothing to work with.

    The back bone of the club, players like Gabby simply aren’t good enough and the young players coming through the academy weren’t loaned out to gain experience buy the likes of MON. I don’t know whether i think Lambert has a future here but i think he’s done a decent enough job here considering everything else, a few less injuries and 1 or 2 different decisions and who knows.

  18. Villa are like the government, albeit a year or so behind. The previous government massively over-spent, causing huge financial problems, and the current government are having to make cut-backs to deal with the previous over-spending.

    Not popular but entirely necessary.

    Once the huge over-spending has been dealt with they will be able to start spending a bit more money and the good times will hopefully come back. O’Neill = Labour, Lambert = Conservative.

    The economy is picking back up now, so hopefully Villa will start picking up next year!

  19. Keep Politics or references to Politics out of football. Football does not need it and anyway I would sooner have an owner come in and overspend (Man City) than one come in and destroy the backbone of the club.

  20. The mess that MON left has taken just over 3 years to fix, I agree that Lambert should see out this last year even he has had enough of the constraints he had been under, however I do believe that his buys will come good with a few experienced quality players. Look at it like this….What if we was relegated last season ? Lambert knows what it takes to get out of the championship, the fact we survived was a bonus, same thing this season we will survive. What happens this summer will be crucial in terms of the direction the club is heading. Experienced quality players and we are going to be challenging for Europe, promising future players and it’s hit and miss how next season will pan out. He has made some good purchases, some poor or still struggling to adapt to the premiership.

    I will wait until the summer goings on before I decide on whether I renew my season ticket.

  21. good point about players struggling to adapt, & a point in question would be Tonev signed on the reccomendation of Petrov, who himself took 2 seasons to adapt

  22. Exactly what I think about Tonev. Petrov was excellent for celtic but struggled at villa for a while then became an instrumental player for us. I think he will come good.

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