Sink or swim time

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Paul Lambert

The Premier League is pure madness at times!

The results at the weekend seemingly went against us. Swansea and Hull both won, putting them above Villa in the table with the same number of points but better goal differences. Because of that, we are now twelfth in the league and tonight’s game against Cardiff City has turned into a very important fixture for Aston Villa.

Worryingly, Stoke, Crystal Palace, Norwich and West Ham all picked up points, which made things even tighter in the bottom half of the table. The lacklustre performance against the Hammers was something which I personally thought might happen, as I pointed out in my last article; we just can’t seem to string performances and results together.

As frustrating as it is, I really feel for Lambert at this time because he appears to have lost a lot of fans’ support. Has he reached a point of no return though? Not necessarily, in my opinion.

What the players need to do now is show the fans that they still believe in the manager by rewarding him with a convincing and dominant display. The players have to play out of their skins and show the world that they’re not just push-overs. At the moment, as Paul McGrath stated, our home form is ‘beyond a joke’. Paul Lambert, being the man he is, can only protect his players for so long – the fact of the matter is that the players have to stand up and fight for the club and its survival.

I’m not one to place importance on performance over results because this is a results business and you don’t always get what you deserve in football: if both go hand in hand then great. If not, then I’d take results every time. A good run is now vital and if Lambert gets the results that are needed for safety then I feel fans will still back him to succeed but not with the same patience and enthusiasm that was once there.

When talking to the press on Monday, the gaffer stated that he was confident of survival:

“There are two ways to look at it – (the situation) will either take you under, or you thrive on the challenge.

It’s the same as last year. You either meet it head-on or it takes you under.

We came through last year when we were in a worse position than now, so we will come through this one.”

I dread to think what a loss against Cardiff will mean. Fans will no doubt be calling for Lambert to be sacked – and rightly so. If we can’t beat the teams below us then we are definitely in the mix for relegation. The sooner we hit the magical forty point mark the better.

This really is sink or swim time for the team. A win propels us back up the table whereas a loss drags us down. It’s just how the Premier League is at the moment. Matt Lowton, Nathan Baker, Ashley Westwood, Gabby Agbonlahor, Andi Weimann and Christian Benteke have to play better. They haven’t been at their best and now we need each of them to step up a gear.

The frustration of the fans is understandable – we’ve seen flashes of brilliance from the team. We know the quality is there. We know they have it in the locker. It’s up to them to produce it regularly and it’s up to Paul Lambert to give them the knowledge and motivation to do it effectively.

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