How bad must Helenius be?


After seeing two dismal home games during Christmas week, I am finding it difficult to take positives away from either performance. On Boxing Day, we were unlucky to lose, as Crystal Palace fielded a side as poor as our own on the day and neither team deserved to win. It was one of the worst games of football I have ever watched and I feel sorry for anyone who had to endure that match as part of a Christmas present. Aston Villa Football Club need to offer refunds for that game as the quality was no better than Sunday League.

Yesterday, I thought Lambert might give Helenius a chance in the starting line up against Swansea City, with Benteke back in Belgium and Kozak having had a miserable game on Boxing Day. Once again, Helenius only made the substitutes’ bench, which got me thinking about how bad Helenius must be that he is so out of favour with Lambert when Kozak is playing extremely poorly and Weimann can’t shoot or cross – or do anything apart from run around like a headless chicken. I find it hard to understand how he could be much worse than the average players we already have in our starting XI. Yesterday, the only player who seemed to have anything about him was Agbonlahor; he didn’t stop running and he tried to make something happen. The other ten men showed no passion for the cause and were as clueless as I think Lambert is.

For the first nine minutes we were passing the ball around and we managed to get an early lead. After taking the lead, we should have used our momentum and pressed on but, once again, we got all the men behind the ball and invited Swansea to attack time and time again.

The long ball came every time we got the ball and Guzan seemed to lack the capability to throw the ball out or play a short pass. We managed to make it to half time level but Lambert’s tactics were exactly the same for the second half – hoof the ball up field and invite more pressure. We were all relieved as fans, however, when Lambert decided to bring Kozak on, to give the team another player who can’t win the ball in the air. I can’t forget to mention Luna, who is another player I am completely baffled by: he gets beaten down the wings, constantly complains and is the slowest full back I have seen since Stephen Warnock. Lambert needs to realise Luna needs to be left back – in the changing rooms.

The bottom line is Villa has a very average side and we are going to be in a relegation scrap if we don’t invest or call time on Lambert. He is ultimately responsible for the mess the team is currently in. We gave him a season and a half of our patience and it’s finally clear that his long term plan is flawed. We are not going to have a future as a Premier League side if we don’t improve. He has purchased inexperienced players with ‘potential’ and none of his signings have been a success, or improved the team one bit, with the exception of Benteke and Lowton’s form last season. He spent £17 million in the summer and what have we gained? More clueless but young football players.

We have all given Lambert a lot of patience and support but I am afraid he should be on his way. If not, he needs to bring in some experience and knock his long term plan on the head.

It’s difficult to see a team you are so passionate about in this dire state: I am bored at matches and I have little hope that we will get any sort of result, especially at home.

Here’s to some real bargains in the January sales and a happier New Year.


  1. Lampert has said several times Helenius is a different sort of player to what some fans want him to be ! Last time I saw him play was the U21 cup match where he was one of the better players . But his strike partner (Burke) was having an off day & should have been subbed a lot sooner than he was .
    Helenius has been on the bench several times recently , but I’d suspect PL is waiting for the right time to introduce him , which is not when the team are desparate to take the lead

  2. A pretty reasoned article, that certainly sums up the feeling of the fans atm. Nice one.
    Two problems though.
    He isn’t going and will still buy cheap rubbish and play the same tactics, imo.

  3. I agree with the policy on youth but you still have to have a backbone of good experienced players and Lambert did something really stupid and that was to NOT sign Gareth Barry. Barry is a born leader on the field and a very good player and just look what he has done at Everton! I even wrote to Lambert and suggested he signed Barry but sadly he is the first Villa Manager not to reply to my letter.
    He has got to go and go now before the Transfer Window! I think Villa could easily lose the next 3 games. Not looking good for that and with Benteke and Vlaar out plus Okore! Not good at all!

  4. Improve the team overnight. Recall all of our players that are out on loan. Don’t tell me Hutton, Ireland and Bent can’t improve this rabble. Get some monies worth out of them before they all leave for nothing.

  5. It was my hope that Lambert has just been putting him through rigorous gym sessions to build a bit of muscle on the lad. What i have seen of him would suggest that he has the quality to be a top Premiership striker, but he was far too skinny and lightweight when we signed him initially. Helenius needed to put on a dramatic amount of muscle, and if he was going through a proper muscle building schedule, he probably wouldnt be the freshest of options up front. But thats just my theory.

  6. We do have some decent players like Gabby, Albrighton, Vlar and Benteke but they are not used to their potential and I agree that Helenius should have been given a chance. We are woeful on the wing and constantly back off in midfield, yesterday was dire as was Stoke and Sunderland (thankfully did not watch Palace game). I think that we could do much better with the player that we have although we are missing some quality in midfield and a left back. Have a good new year and UTV

  7. Pretty much spot on there, I’m afraid to say. I would also like to point out the poor standard of coaching our players must be receiving. After traveling to stoke the other week to sample the atmosphere (which I didnt find) it became apparent that the players have had the basics coached out of their game. First touches were poor and not one player showed for a throw in. The positioning of Baker gets worse every week and Clarke switches of leaving his man far to regularly. Westwood only seems to be able to pass backwards at the moment and Tonev , well words arent required. I think we need a coaching staff shuffle and to put square pegs back in square holes and build from the back. Baker has to be dropped for anyone we can find in the carpark who fits in his boots!

  8. I agree the football and results have been awful.
    Major changes are needed, Lambert needs to either be backed or sacked.
    However to say he needs to give up on his long term plan I think is foolish. Long term I agree with the plan. The issue is right now. We need some experience to help the team keep ticking over and help develop the young lads until they are experienced enough to handle things on their own.
    Please Randy give Lambert the 20+ mill required in January to bring in the center back and creative midfielder we are crying out for. We are so easy to defend against at home as we only have one tactic. A playmaker with some intelligence is needed NOW!!! UTV!

  9. You’ve not said anything different to what’s already been written ,what most people have done myself included is talk about the poor standard of football and the time that might be running out for lambert, now this is what I believe , lambert has done nothing to improve the skill of those players he purchased last season now I know these players pulled of a small miracle but this year call it what you will (second season syndrome ) it all boils down to what take place on the training Field , and for arguments sake what the new signings have brought to the club
    When you watch what passes for football at vp these days you see that a lot of these players look out of sorts Weimann has no compose and it shows in his play baker cannot read the game and that too shows in his play , our midfield has very little awareness and cohesion that no matter what they do it all comes to nothing ,now I don’t blame these players I blame the coaching .player like helanius ,Weimann kozak and Luna need a few weeks in the reserves to gain some much needed confidence plus more time to work on there awareness and composure with the right kind of coaching all of there weaknesses can be turned in strengths .
    I could go on and on but it’s up to lambert to see this and make the right decision for the team ,one other important factor is the formation of the team, stick to one give it time to gell and give the player time to get used to that formation ,flexibility is good but it can cause more harm than good when you use three different formations in one game , this can’t be good for the squad or just as importantly the supporters
    We are short in quality but I’m sure we will soon put that right but for now he must look at the coaching change it if need be if the coaching staff are failing then move them on and get some staff in who can get the best out of the players

  10. A good article the sums up Aston Villa at the moment. I can see the club being relegated, if not this season then next.
    Lambert is not a good manager. Every problem that there is he attempts, very poorly, to deflect. He has bought very badly in the main. Most of the ones he has brought in would struggle in Div 1.
    He does not appear to have a plan B when things go wrong. IF his team talks are has poor has his interviews, one can understand why the team are neither energised or motivated.
    In respect of the team we need 2 new central defenders, a left sided full back and at least 1 midfield and front man.
    Never thought I would say it but I detest this man more that McL
    He is a con man aided and abetted by the CEO.
    The sooner he goes the better.

    • I think you need to stop and think rationally. We played terrible football under McLeish, to the same standard we seem to be playing now in fact the difference is that Lambert has achieved this on a budget that puts us in a good financial position, with a long term plan too. Just because the teams going through a rough patch it’s not a reason to say that you deteste one man for it.

  11. good article mate.
    I think bringing i lower league and foreign players could work IF we had a manager and coaching staff who could actually nurture and develop them for prem league football.Its as clear as day that lambert and co are not capable of doing this,in fact,it seems that those players are now worse than last season,something is drastically wrong on the training ground.Maybe mr Lambert has dreams that he is alex fergie and can turn iron into gold.Somebody please give him a kick up the arse to make him realise he just hasnt got that midas touch before he gets us relagated.
    Ive supported the Villa for 40 years,but right now my heart is broken…

  12. I too am trying my best to keep faith in the ‘project’ but finding it harder by the game. This last 2 home games av been shocking. Our summer signings av been abysmal apart from a couple of quality free kicks from Bacuna. Tonev? Where do I start? Come on Paul/ Randy some quality experience at cb and cm NOW before it’s too late.

  13. Peter Crouch is tall and skinny and he scores goals. He scored against us. Helenius is a similar build and from his videos looks more skilful and agile. At present the forward line is not working. We should try something else. Give him a start. 5 or 10 minutes is not enough time to prove yourself. Or as has been suggested, put him in the reserves for a few weeks to at least give him some experience of English football. Sitting on the bench every week cannot do his confidence any good. Still think we need left back, centre half, holding midfield and attacking midfield. Can’t keep waiting for Ron Vlarr & Jores Okore to get better. Also like the sound of Gareth Barry. Whatever you say, in my view he is still a creative maestro.

  14. If we buy “hungry” players, let’s make sure they are the ones that are starving. Our hungry boys are just not that hungry.

  15. Lambert is not a great manager but I would like to point out all the players brought in was done by villa scouting team. Tonev and Luna are garbage Kodak ain’t worth the fee we paid sylla is a 2 nd division player so who is doing our scouting sack them . If your players are good enough for plan a how can he have a plan b also 20 million waisted in the summer something you all say mon was guilty off we are going down as we only have 6 million to spend and benteki will be departing I know this for sure . And when he does lambert will resign as a. Get out excuse

  16. Don’t think we will ever see Barry in a villa shirt again. Pity cos he would be ideal for us at the moment. @RAJ – the point with Lowton is this. He was crap on Saturday but what the hell has happened to him? He was quality last season. Am I the only one who found it a bit odd that when we scored on sat the players ran to the dugout with a half hearted high 5 for Lambert but big hugs for the bench???

  17. So Woostervillaman you know for certain that Villa going down @ the end of the season yet you ask about who scouted the players as if you did not know that Petrov & Rioch were responsible for 2 of the signings which suggests you know little or nothing !
    And who is KODAK is he an invisible player only you know about ?

  18. After the Palace debacle, I just could not face seeing us be beaten by Swansea, so I gave my season ticket to a mate. Ok we got a draw, but 27% of possession at home once again shows our naivety. It hurts me to say that I think we will not survive relegation this season. Lamberts experiment of playing with inexperience in the side will see us playing the likes of Brumagem next season. Learner, if he has any love left for our club MUST act quickly (when was the last time he attended a match at Villa Park) Otherwise he must sell. Deadly must be totally dejected by the last few seasons of non football.

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