Paul Lambert has signed a new deal with Aston Villa. This season is now his third in charge of the club so let’s take a look back at some of Lambert’s highlights as Villa boss:
The signing of Christian Benteke – 2012
Many Villa fans were surprised to see the Belgian signed for a fee of £7 million, especially when he was unproven in the Premier League and Lambert was working to a tight budget at the time. This proved to be one of the transfers of the season, as Benteke was soon a hit with the fans. He scored a remarkable nineteen league goals in his first season and was invaluable in helping us stay in the Premier League following a tough season. Still only twenty-three years of age, Benteke still has a lot to offer the club. The Belgian is now back in training and we all look forward to seeing him playing in claret and blue once again.
Appointment of Roy Keane – 2014
Following our tremendous start to this season, some credit has to be given to Paul Lambert’s right hand man, Roy Keane. Many Villa fans questioned the appointment but his experience and no-nonsense attitude appear to have rubbed off on our players, in particular our defenders. Last season we looked disorganised, inexperienced and lethargic but now that Keane is by Lambert’s side we look like a disciplined and well-organised side that is very hard to break down; we proved this in the gritty 1-0 win at Anfield.
Best of Fabian Delph – 2012
With Paul Lambert’s arrival, the revitalised Fabian Delph entered the fray. Under McLeish and Houllier, Delph was not playing at the top of his game and was often left on the bench or performed poorly when given a chance. When Lambert became Villa boss, he gave Delph the opportunity to prove his worth again and he is now arguably our best player having recently featured twice for England. Now all that’s left for our gaffer to do is to make sure we don’t lose Delph and get him tied up to a new contract.
£2 million signing of Ashley Westwood
What a bargain Westwood has turned out to be. Many of us questioned why we were paying serious money for a player from Crewe. Westwood now plays a pivotal role in the heart of our midfield alongside Delph. The pair have proven to be a real breath of fresh air, particularly in the last year or so. Westy is a great passer of the ball and one player in our side who very rarely gives away possession. It was a gutsy move from Lambert to sign not only a young player but a player who was playing League One football. Ashley Westwood was thrown in at the deep end and it was a big ask for him to play regularly in the Premier League so soon after his move. He has more than delivered and credit has to be given to Lambert for spotting his talent.
Victories over the big boys
Even though we have had relatively poor campaigns under Paul Lambert, everyone loves a victory over the big sides and we have had plenty to celebrate over the last two years. With wins over Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool (on numerous occasions), we have always upped our game against the top teams under Lambert. The problem was that the same team couldn’t beat the teams around and below it. So far this season, it looks as though we could well have rectified this problem.
Much praise has to be given to Lambert for some of the things he has achieved in his time at Villa. It has been a tough five years for the club and things have not gone as many of us would have liked but this season I genuinely do feel as though we are finally on the up. I am happy that Paul Lambert will remain as our manager and I wish him all the best.