Aston Villa at Norwich: Lexington, Watergate and Lambert

Sometimes, there are moments that define periods of time. It is easy to look back at them today and see exactly what they were but most of the time and at the time, nobody knew how important they were.

Take the Battle of Lexington in 1775. It was the first military engagement of the American Revolutionary War and what ultimately led to the American Declaration of Independence a year later.

Or we could look at how someone saw flashing lights at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, that ultimately led to Nixon resigning.

Okay, part of that second example was from a film, but the Nixon administration did try to cover it up and he did resign. My point is this; Aston Villa have been playing better of late and there are reasons for this, but I truly do believe that if we stay on this path, better things are to come.

I've banged the drum for a long time about the need to develop our own players, play our own players and strengthen with quality brought in from other sources and while we haven't played all of our young players this season, we have have played with a core of Aston Villa players this season and while not all have come through the ranks, this manager gave many their opportunity in the Premier League and that type of loyalty can not be purchased.

And many people will suggest that the Sunderland performance was a fluke or we got lucky, but it has been coming and we didn't get all those goals through luck; we actually went looking for them when in previous times and managers, we might have sat back and played for a narrow three points.

Something changed this season. Paul Lambert tried things that didn't work, but recognised that and moved on. He played with certain players that again didn't work and again, he moved on.

I'm not saying he has it completely right at the moment, but I am saying this; he has his core players that are playing for him now and that, is a crucial ingredient.

Today

If West Brom can beat Wigan, a tough ask, but a possible one and we beat Norwich, something I believe is more than possible, then I think we are safe, but more than that, I think for the manager anyway, it is his way of confirming everything that he has done this season has been for a reason.

The truth is, we don't know if Randy Lerner said there was no money. For all we know, it could have been Lambert that came in and said he wanted to do exactly what has happened. I'm not becoming a Lerner apologist, don't get me wrong, but in his defence, we just don't know why our season started so badly and when looking for positives, I think a lot of people have missed that it could all be down to Lambert deciding to do it this way.

And if it is, kudos to Lambert, because it looks like it could be working, because since we left the three centre backs and started playing a variation of 451, our football has looked very good.

Okay, lets not take anything away from specific players or the role they are playing, but what we are looking at today is something new. I'm really looking forward to the match today because if we win and win by what I think is possible, then we'll have pundits all over us for a few days telling us that they've said all this for a long time too.

Updates, team news and links

So, with that, I leave you but this is the match post so as and when we get team news I'll try to beat you and get it up and if we find any links of interest, we'll post them below and during the game, I'll be on Twitter and here.

And on that, I should end with this; just because I think we will win and with a swagger, doesn't mean we will. And if we don't it doesn't matter in the bigger picture. Naturally, I don't want last Monday and the last few weeks to actually become a fluke but that is why I don't think it is; it wasn't just a one off. But a win would be important, especially if West Brom and West Ham could win too.

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  • Guest - potts

    a bloke went to the doctors and said doctor i keep singing the green green grass of home other times its whats new pussy cat the doctor said you have got tom jones syndrom the bloke says christ is it serious the doctor says its not unusual

  • Vital

    It started off trying to find a song to come out to at VP:D:D:D

  • VITAL,

    mate,we are having a bank holliday ball.

    most think we are safe.so just having a good night and chiling.
    we deserve it.:):):)

  • Guest - Vital_Loans

    It's a beautiful day by U2. Perfect song to get the crowd going

  • vital

    Cant see that working on a December night:):D:D:D:D

  • VITAL,

    it started with that crap song hi ho silver lining we used to come out to.
    we were thinking of more appropiate songs.

  • Guest - Vital_Loans

    Another favourite of mine would be Sympathy for the Devil (Rolling Stones for any younger bloggers)

  • Guest - Vital_Loans

    jcv,

    I caught your Ken Barlow joke the other night looking at my ph. Nice One!

  • Guest - Vital_Loans

    keithj,


    Its the football that will be beautiful. it wouldnt matter if it was pissing rain or snowing :)

  • Guest - potts

    one for jcv
    the three tenners

  • POTTS,

    haha mate.was that a tommy cooper joke.:):):):):)

    i slept like a log last night.woke up in the fire place.:p
    or,i walked into a bar last night,OUCH it was an iron bar.;)

  • Guest - Vital_Loans

    potts

    one for jcv
    the three tenners


    Is that the simmer transfer budget ?

  • Guest - potts

    tommy cooper said i backed ahorse at 20 to 1 and it came in at 10 past 3 in fact it came in so late it had to tip toe back into the stable

  • FOR THOSE,

    that missed the ken barlow joke,here it is again.

    all ken barlow did was take a 15 year old escort to kevin websters garage for a touch up because jim couldnt fix it

  • POTTS,

    mate,
    will you stop mentioning bloody tenners.:):):):):):):):):):)

  • Guest - nollaigmac

    This is the last time by Keane... and we mean it!!

  • Taffy and Evan go to the Wales/England international. Taffy says if we get split up go to that pub after the game. Taffy goes in the pub after the game and is approached by a young lady who asks if hes looking for someone, he says hes looking for Evan, she says Heavens back at my place so he goes with her. She gives him a coffee and then calls him to the bedroom 5 minutes later, as he enters the bedroom shes lying there stark naked pointing between her legs, theres Heaven she says. No he replied Evans a bigger c**t than that.

  • KEITH,

    nice one mate.:):):):):)
    trust you to say coffee:):):):)

  • Guest - potts

    what do you call a welshman in the world cup final ? ref

  • POTTS,
    i assume you refer to that pratt thomas.:):):)

  • oh well

    time to call it a night lads

  • Guest - potts

    trevor hockey

  • spiitting image classic,

    the waiter says to maggie thatcher,who was eating with the abinet ,what do you require, she says stake.and he says what about the vegitables.
    she replies they will have the same.:p

  • Guest - belfastvilla

    Lets stick together! And its goodnight from him:)

  • right lads,

    im half pissed,and after a great night on here,

    i wish you all a goodnight.:):):):)

  • Guest - potts

    jcv
    one for the fabled ten pound( cant get used of losing you ) by andy williams

  • P/S,
    before i sign off.
    tonight on here reminds me of the KISS song.

    these are crazy crazy nights.night all.:p:p:p:p

  • Well, I wanted a draw last night between Sunderland and Stoke, and it was a draw. Keeps it all nice and tight with none of those clubs obtaining a win. Stoke win and they would probably been out of it. Sunderland win and they would have gone above us on goal difference. So all in all I think it was a good night as good as can be, in terms of other results going our way.

    Sunderland have to play Southampton, I can see that being another draw. Then they have to go to Tottenham. And on a word of some may think that they played well due to the fact they were down to 10 men for most of the match. Well, all I will say playing with 10 men in the position they are, I can only liken it to a cat being cornered... It will do anything it can to get out of that corner. Similar me thinks to Sunderland last night.

    Still leaves Stoke wanting maybe another point to be totally sure. Keeps it all tight. I would have taken that result last night.

  • On tonight's game.

    Anything other than a Wigan win, and I think we are safe. I actually think Swansea are going to get a result at the DW this evening. Why? Well, Wigan have lots of injuries, they only have one recognised defender available since Bosejour got injured against West Brom. Swansea have Michu out also which is a shame.

    Nonetheless, I'm quietly confident that due to Wigan's injury problems mounting up and another game three days after the weekend, may just be a bridge too far for them.

    If Swansea either win or draw, I cannot see Wigan getting any points when they play at the Emirates next week. Also due to their injuries, I can see Arsenal tear them apart!

    Swansea get a result tonight, then I don't think Wigan can catch us. ;);)

  • If it gets to the point where we are safe, I will resist the temptation to "celebrate" yes, it will be a relief but I dont feel comfortable season after season "celebrating" merely escaping relegation its time raise our aims and expectations higher.

  • Wolves sack Dean Saunders - he managed Doncaster last season and they got relegated, he leaves and they get promoted, he joins Wolves and they get relegated, sorry Deano a great player in his time with us - but a manager? I dont think so !.

  • Guest - vogra

    Saunders was my favourite ever Villa player, he wasnt given the tools at Wolves, he's better off out of there.

  • I think he had more than enough 'tools' at wolves

  • I suppose what has happened at Wolves should be the warning sign to us that constantly sacking managers is not necessarily the answer.

  • Guest - expat007

    Good morning all,

    IT’S STILL ‘GROUNDHOG’ DAY FOR VILLA FANS

    On the first day of this season, 18th August 2012 The Villa lost to West Ham. At the end of that day, their league position was 17th and even if we did not realise it they were already in relegation difficulties. After over 200 days and another 35 games Villa have now reached the lofty heights of 13th, however it is still possible for the club to go down into The Championship even at this late date.

    Therefore, when we wake up tomorrow will it be any different, no it’s another ‘Groundhog Day’. Even if Wigan lose to Swansea the "the Sword of Damocles" will still be hanging above our heads as Wigan can still achieve 41 points.

    Then on Saturday The Villa beat Chelsea and at last no more ‘Groundhog Days’ on Sunday morning, possibly as The Villa will have 43 points and will be in 11th position. Although the other clubs in fear of relegation can get 44 points, that with the exception Sunderland or Southampton who are playing each other as one of those two will finish below Villa; Hooray!

    However if the Villa draw with Chelsea and if the probable happens and they lose I fear it could be more ‘Groundhogs days’ mornings until the final morning on Monday 20th of May.

    There will be many reading this and wondering why this silly old sod has bothered? Even if it does not go to that last day, I just want to remind all Villa fans that it has been a crap season wherever we finish. Although, as probable we can take some enjoyment from the fact that we will still be in the Premiership next season it has still been hell since day one of the 2012/13 season and nobody should think otherwise.

    On that first day at Upton Park at 3 o’clock, the great majority of Villa fans were certain that Paul Lambert was to take The Villa to new heights this season, with the likes of Keith taking about top four. When some of us pointed out that we had a weak and inexperience squad and it needed strengthening we were ‘pooh-poohed’ it was inferred we were disloyal and not true fans as we were not amongst the ‘I have faith in Lambert’ brigade.

    I am not trying to say ’we told you so’ I am just trying to warn those who again are coming out from behind their barricades and have started the same nonsense about next season, even though at this time we are still not certain of survival. Let’s hope that Lambert learns from the elementary errors he has made this season and thinks himself fortunate to still be manager of our Great Club, that is of course that we do stay up?

  • expat

    Excellent post there mate, completely hit the nail on the head!!

    And following on from that, unfortunately some of our supporters just "live for the moment" and think that just because we have started playing better over the last couple of month then that it automatically guarantees form, and will be carried over to next season. If we stay up!

    In my view we have around 14 players that do not or have not come up to standard this season, or through force majeure, and need to be removed from the club.

    Namely:


    Bennett
    Clark - or used as backup
    Baker - or used as backup
    Bannan
    Dunne
    Ireland
    Albrighton
    Stevens
    Lichaj
    Karim El Ahmadi
    Shay Given
    Brett Holman
    Jean Makoun
    Nathan Delfouneso

    Lambert may have got away with it this season, touch wood!! But he will be severely judged next season if again we are sitting just above the drop zone with a load of new in-experienced young players, on top of what we had from this season. Some say that he will not go this route again next season. I have severe doubts.

  • jonnah: Brad Guzan has too many flaws to be considered a top top 'keeper and I would add him to that list, a real top notch 'keeper would be a real improvement. Guzan dithers and is uncertain dealing with crosses, a good shot stopper yes, but there is more to goal keeping than simply shot stopping.

  • wind
    Yes agreed, Guzan come in for rightful criticism of late. And maybe in replacing Given a better keeper can be brought in to at least challenge for the No1 Jersey.

  • I would like to see us go for Fraser Forster from Celtic a good young English keeper who performed very well in Europe.

  • Good shout there mate. Big strong keeper, I remember the game he played out of his skin against Barcelona at Celtic. And has been consistent in the CL. Plus Lambert was an ex player. Could be something in it.

  • jonnah: Yes and in return Given would walk to Glasgow to play for Celtic it would be a good deal for both clubs and keepers.

  • Oh how I hope the DogHeads appoint Mcdonut as their next manager.

  • Guest - Savo96

    Jonnah - wow, that list pretty much empties our entire squad..........!

    I must say it is hard to argue on most of them, however I completely disagree on Baker. He is the most impressive young centre back we have had for ages - I can see him developing into a top player. At times this season its looks like he has been pulled out of position, but that is only because he has had to cover for the more experienced Vlaar, Clark et.c whom he is playing alongside. Also its far too early to put Clark in that list. I actuallyy rate Baker a lot more, but still think Clark is a decent player. Enda Stevens when he played aganist Man Utd at home had a great game and has shown signs. Also whilst Guzan has had a few poor games we'd be far worse off without him - and throughout the course of the season he has been one of our better players.

  • Savo96

    wow, that list pretty much empties our entire squad..........!

    I know...

    Wrt to Baker and Clark, I would not be bothered if they left tbh but also could provide back up coming off the subs bench. We're still making silly mistakes albeit improved slightly at the back of late. Enda Stevens, not sure how many games has he played this season, the only one I can remember was against Man Utd? But if he was any good, he would be on the subs bench or the starting XI.

    If Lambert could get rid of 10 of them and bring in experienced players I would be happy. Here's hoping ;)
    Not that I don't want in-experienced players next season but I would go top heavy on buying experienced players over in-experienced players next season.

  • On the Villa Website today.

    "Villa v Chelsea tickets: Crowd expected to be over 41,000"

    "Villa are heading for a crowd of over 41,000 for the big clash with Chelsea.

    Ticket chiefs are calling on supporters to get in quick to snap up their seats."

    Here's the Link:
    http://www.avfc.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10265~3170170,00.html

  • VILLA, NEWCASTLE TARGET DE JONG ADMITS CONSIDERING AJAX FUTURE

    "Ajax captain Seim de Jong is open to a move away in the summer."

    The midfielder, 24, has been linked with Newcastle United and Aston Villa.
    "This summer I'll decide what I'll do," said De Jong to NUsport. "If a club comes in for me, then I'll think seriously about it."

    http://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/villa-newcastle-target-de-jong-admits-considering-ajax-future-3956137#.UYkXdrVmDDt

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