Following the 0-0 draw with West Ham at the Boleyn Ground yesterday, Lambert’s Lions have failed to find the back of the net in four consecutive games. Where our goals will come from, besides Benteke, is now becoming a real worry.
Although we came close to scoring in our last two games, with Benteke having a penalty saved at home to Everton and powering a header against the bar against West Ham, chances have been few and far between. In the last three or four games in the league, we have failed to create many goal-scoring opportunities and we need to change this quickly ahead of our next game against Cardiff at home.
Last season, Villa had a side known for scoring plenty of goals away from home but keeping a clean sheet seemed almost impossible. This season the opposite is seemingly true as we have managed to keep three clean sheets in our last three away games; however, we have only managed to score one goal.
It was plain for me to see yesterday that we missed Delph and Agbonlahor away from home. We need both players fit if we are to get the best out of Benteke, as they are the only two players who offer real pace and attacking movement when we counter. Without Delph, we looked very flat in midfield since he is the only one who can burst forward and ignite our counter-attacking play when on the road. Westwood is not fast enough to burst forward and often plays the simple pass, with El Ahmadi being the most defensively-minded of the midfield three.
Paul Lambert seems to gone some way towards sorting out our rocky defence out, although I am not entirely convinced that the defence is quite there yet. The problem is that in doing so he has forgotten that we need to score goals to win games.
If we want to score goals on a regular basis we cannot rely on Benteke week in, week out. Mat Kendrick of The Birmingham Mail commented on this in his opposition piece featured in West Ham’s programme from Saturday’s clash:
“Sadly, it seems to be the case in terms of relying on Benteke for goals. He’s top-scorer again this season so far with five goals in league and cup even though he’s missed a month with injury. They just don’t seem to get enough goals from other areas of the team, particularly midfield.
We saw against Everton that Benteke missed a penalty and also an important one-on-one chance so when he doesn’t score the team struggles to score as well.”
We need to score more goals from midfield and Libor Kozak needs to live up to his £7 million price tag if we are to start scoring goals again. Weimann has hit a dry spell and Gabby is not fully fit yet so, at the minute, I can’t see where the goals will come from against Cardiff at home next Saturday.