On Saturday, we played a Chelsea team vying for the Premier League title, a team that oozes class. We lost 3-0 but I can’t say I was surprised; when looking at the players Mourinho brought in and how much he spent on those players, I expected Chelsea to win comfortably.
In the first half we gave as good as we got: we were organised and kept Diego Costa quiet. However, in the second half, Chelsea stepped up a gear and we couldn’t handle the pressure. I am disappointed that we lost, as I always am, but I am not ashamed.
A minority of fans are starting to turn on Lambert again. Before the Arsenal game, when the Villans were still unbeaten in the Premier League, fans looked as if they were back on Lambert’s side again after a disappointing season, even singing his name positively at Villa Park. Now that we have lost consecutive games, some people on social networking sites are calling for his head. Randy Lerner will not sack him, especially now that he has given him a new contract, partly because Lerner will not want to dish out unnecessary compensation if, as rumours suggest, he still wants to sell the club. Also, at present, he has no real reason to sack him. Last season, a few other Premier League chairmen may have sacked Lambert but Lerner has decided to back him rather than sack him.
As I have said before, I did have my doubts about Lambert but this season he has done a good job: he has bought good players on a tight budget and he has also brought in Roy Keane, who has had a positive impact so far, helping to improve the players’ morale and confidence.
It is well publicised that we are currently in the middle of a rotten run of games and to have secured ten points so far is an achievement, as people were predicting, like last season when we had a similar run, that we would struggle and we have done a decent job. The quick flurry of goals from Arsenal could have been dealt with better but the passes to the strikers were of top quality and our squad was flattened by a bug. Against Chelsea, the top players justified their transfer fees – by helping Chelsea to win the game.
We are waiting on the return of key players in Christian Benteke and Ron Vlaar. Both will improve the team. Our defenders do seem to miss the leadership qualities of Vlaar, which could be one of the reasons why we have conceded six goals in two games. Benteke can win games, as he proved in his first season with Aston Villa and at times last season.
This season has started extremely well, especially with all the uncertainty around the club which could have altered some players’ mind-sets.
Hopefully, we can go into Saturday’s game with no fear. We have nothing to lose as we are the underdogs. While the media and fans of other clubs are predicting that we are going to lose, we have already shown in the last two seasons that can ruffle a few feathers against the top teams, including Manchester City. Why can’t we do that again?