There is a match tonight and it's a big match, but between now and the end of the season, we've got fifteen big matches. Fifteen cup finals if you want and that really is how everyone should look at them.

There isn't an excuse that is acceptable. There isn't a way out. There is no place to hide. If we don't pick up the necessary points it is because we were not good enough.

And if we're not good enough, you've not got to look far. But we shouldn't think about the unthinkable right now.

Newcastle at Villa Park

So we have the first of those cup finals tonight and this is another six pointer. Win and we go ahead of Newcastle. Anything other than a win and by close of business tomorrow night, we could find ourselves 19th and if we do and you're not going to like me writing this; the future wont be very bright.

But there is a chance. There is a chance that Newcastle, who are just one place above us in the current form table, are worse than us. There is a chance that with these changes they are likely to make, it backfires. Bringing in new players doesn't mean things get better.

Bottom three of current form table

Updates, team news and a statement from Randy Lerner

So, we'll be here for tonight. We'll be here a few hours before kick off and we'll be here, fingers crossed, feeling optimistic that it will come good tonight. It will come good with Lambert, the fear is that it takes too long. If we go down, we might not come straight back up and by then, we'll just be happy to be playing in this league. Relegation will be the death of this club unless we get a new owner.

So right now, you can probably tell I don't feel that optimistic and while the odds for this match at PaddyPower make us the favourites at 6/4, I fancy the 7/4 you'll get on Newcastle is a good price.

But the optimism will return later, it always does. Thirty minutes before kick off I'll believe we can beat Barcelona. And tonight is a cup final. If we play like it is and give everything, anything is possible. I've talked myself into a bet on us in two paragraphs.

But before I go, to the statement. I've not seen it, just seen bits, but I wanted to write that it wasn't Lerner that wrote this. It was a PR firm. It was a communication specialist. These are just words and they mean nothing. What we need is Lerner to be put in a room with supporters and for it to be filmed and for him to now know what is coming, although you'd have to be a very bad PR firm or communication specialist to know what questions are not going to be asked.

And, in days gone by, the owner publicly backing the manager was usually a signal that he didn't have long left. Could it be that if we get spanked tonight change is coming? There is only Wednesday and Thursday but a lot can happen in two days and it isn't impossible for those things to happen for us.

The players

Guzan, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett, Baker, Lowton, Westwood, Bannan, N’Zogbia, Benteke and Bent start. On the bench we have Given, Ireland, Lichaj, Holman, Gabby, Weimann and Bowery.

Honest view; I'm not sure about lining up with three central defenders. It promotes attacking from the wing-backs and you've got to have bags of experience to do that. Our wing-backs are also actually full-backs and they've only really played this way since they came to us and it hasn't exactly been something we've done for a long time or very successfully.

I'll write it now; three, five, two isn't the future.

Damian
Author: Damian
Damian started The Villa Blog as a passion project quite a few years ago while he was living in South Africa. Now living in Sweden, it continues. He's originally from Chasetown and grew up when supporting Villa meant there was a real chance of silverware at the start of every season.
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  • Guest - villa4life

    I have been banging the drum about 442 for a while now, It suits the players we have better and going forward we have more of a treat and we look a little tighter defensively, Its just a shame its took us to go down 2-0 to make Lambert realise it

  • Guest - villa

    come on villa!

  • Guest - DAVIDVILLA

    Because Bent plays today do we have to give Sunderland 3 mil ?

  • Guest - superbobbyd

    Thats two on Weimann that were very high, one was a penalty. Newcaste should have picked up a couple of bookings

  • Guest - villa

    buy diemme from westham

  • Guest - Drainpipe

    where was this desire first half. having said that, i'd be amazed if there are 22 players left on the pitch for too long

  • Baker and Clarke are gob****es! They cannot seem to get through a game without randomly lashing and getting themselves booked for no reason.

  • another **** dead ball by bannan.why does he take them?????

  • Guest - DAVIDVILLA

    We could be in bottom 3 FFS

  • Guest - villa

    come on villaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

  • Guest - swiss

    bannan is crap! ireland for bannan! why cant we make a goal in the last few minutes? when we are 2-1 up, we become for sure one goal in the 93 min.

  • everyone around the bottom getting points apart from us......AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Guest - GET FRODO BANNAN OF FOR FUCK SAKES

    How long can we seriously play with one done (Bannan) in the middle??? Turnover after turnover

  • We're killing them..........you cannot get this many chances and not score.

  • Harry weaving his magic again!!!!!!!!!

  • Guest - VillaJack

    Think we have left it too late.

    Terrible 1st half due to Lamberts team selection has finished us.

    Get lost Lambert - You have not got a clue

  • 2nd rate team with a 2nd rate manager a 2nd rate owner.No hope,no future.

  • Tactically inept!!! We would have won this game with a 442!!! lambert you muppet!!!!

  • Guest - Going Down...

    Going Down...

  • Guest - VillaJack

    Wigan and QPR are getting a draw!!

    Villa getting nothing. Thanks Lambert for a crap team selection in the first half.

    Hopefully this wil show the board that the team does have some fight and just need confidence. A New Manager please!!!

  • At this stage of the season and in our situation results are all that matter and this again is a sh*t one against a team some would have us believe is worse than us. Lambert: its no good being wise after the event you should have started with the team you finished with, this defeat is down to you - again, do the honourable thing and get out of our club!

  • BBBBBBBBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Thats to PL fooking muppet!!!!!!!!!!!!! He cost us that game not RL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Guest - Shambert OUT

    Rubbish

  • Guest - villa6002

    So neswcastle get there first away win,,,what a surprise,,,

  • 442 with Benteke/Weimann up top with Nzog/Gabby wide.How fooking hard is it??????????????

  • Guest - NEVER START GABBY AND WIEMANN ON THE BENCH

    Crazy first half tactics leads to a loss..........WHY???????

  • Guest - villa6002

    *Newcastle,,,cant even type im so angry

  • Wigan and QPR get a point,Newcastle get 3.All we need is Soton and reading to win and complete the set........AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Guest - jdoyle

    the manager is a ****ing idiot full stop weiman aint a winger and he leaves the hobbit on the pitch win **** all with no with sack the clown now

  • Guest - stevieh

    2nd good 1st bad will we get two good halfs at Everton?

  • Any other manager who got a vote of confidence from an owner then lost the next game would be gone - lets hope aye!

  • Guest - expat007

    Villa 1 Newcastle 2
    Stoke 2 Wigan 2
    QPR 0 Man C 0

    So that’s Villa now in the drop zone, with Newcastle 4 points and that goal difference (GD) clear. Wigan now above us on the same points by that GD and QPR slowly creeping closer now only 4 points away.

    It cant get cant worse, well yes it can if Reading get anything out of tomorrows match and Villa go 19th.

    The one good thing to come out of the match is that at least there is a chance that Rab C Lambert will go to 4 at the back. The difference between the first and second half was all about getting more players into the centre of the Park.

  • Guest - paulb

    I can write the idiots post match interview now. "Cant fault the effort, we have to keep going".
    Well I can fault your effort, and I wish you would keep going...out the door down to the dole office. CLUELESS idiiot. We only ever play half a game, because he is only half a manager !!!!!

  • Guest - vogra

    is there any chance of us playing well for 90mins

  • Guest - ChrisK

    What are the odds of Villa ending the season in last place? Looks like a real possibility.

  • Did he do his half time talk before the game?

  • Guest - jdoyle

    still have £175 to pick up tommorow plus my 100 7/4 newcastle a steel with lambert in charge he is the worst manager ever bring back vengloss

  • Guest - villa4life

    Much better 2nd half when we went to 442, 1st half tactics cost us, Players looked more comfortable in that formation, We had Newcastle hanging on, It's just a shame it took until the 2nd half on the 29 Jan to realise something I have been banging on about since pre season

  • Guest - K-Block

    Simply not acceptable. This hole is getting deeper and deeper. Lambert is taking us down. He has to go now if we have any chance of staying up. However I think it's to late. Lerner has treated us with utter contempt in this transfer window. Well he's got us our just rewards, life in the championship, gates of 25,000 (if we are lucky). If we go down its the death of Aston Villa Football Club.

  • We have to sell Bent, F**king useless, can't believe he started after all those times left on the bench & now he starts ! Lambert you have to start the in form players.
    I said we needed to play with width and some speed, sell Bent and buy a midfield FFS
    Why oh why can we not play for 90 mins !?

  • QPR and Reading home to Norwich and Sunderland Sat.can see them both winning!!!

  • Starting Bent in the formation we played in the 1st half was plain bonkers.

  • Guest - vulture

    well thats it now we are fcuked unless a miracle happens and lerner sacks that useless b*****d Lambert

  • Guest - hincleyvillian

    never turned up first half dire team selection from the messiah good second half this muppett needs to realise we play 442 drop bannan, enough points to play for can build on second half if he continues with 442 no width in first half

  • Guest - Drainpipe

    Phil Thompson on SSN - "Lambert got it totally wrong". Says it all really.

  • Phil Thompson says we are defo down!!! Correct mate

  • Guest - hincleyvillian

    even phil thompson just said villa are down

  • Guest - Drainpipe

    Can't believe that shLte Savage called it right pre season. And there was me thinking he was just trying to wind up Villa fans.

  • We will be gone well before the end of the season at this rate.

  • Guest - Pauluus

    Something has got to change. It won't be the team or the owner so all that's left is the Manager... He needs to go NOW!

  • hopefully windofchange,the sooner the better,i would hate it to be drawn out!!!

  • Guest - jvilan

    please somebody put me out of misery and tell me lambert is gone and taken bb with him

  • Guest - Falmouth Villan

    why oh why not start the 2nd half team right from the start how many times does this inept tinkering fool need to sort out the best formation that suits the players he has....fcuking disgrace call yourself a football manager?
    mind you still a massive lack of effort from some of the players especially for the "2nd" ball pass it then stand and watch seems to be the tatics. only got the penalty due to gabby chasing down, worry is we still have not scored a goal form open fluid play.
    TAXI FOR LAMBERT....make it a 7 seater so he can take the yank and the rest of idiots with him

  • Guest - hincleyvillian

    lambert has destroyed us

  • Guest - truevillan

    a good second half cannot disguise the fact we are done for, once AGAIN Lambert gets his tactics wrong in first half! the second half showed just how bad Newcastle are and how there was 3 points up for grabs, but Lambert does not have the tactics to work it out.
    He is the man who got us relegated, his reward, to keep his job, to get us promoted......to get us relegated again, well, thats it, we are the new WBA!

  • Guest - hincleyvillian

    his team selections are beyond belief

  • Few points

    Only playing for 45 minutes again.

    Playing 5 at the back when they only had one striker.

    Playing at home

    Necastle haven't won away before this

    It's not much the defence to blame than the midfield and we are far too light weight and easly knocked off the ball. We need a strong midfielder and if we don't get any one in we won't have a chance. It was game of two halves and we deserved a draw

  • Guest - Vital_Loans

    Last time I posted was just before kick off against Bradford. I was full optimism and looking forward to a cup final spot, progression in the FA cup and then Newcastle at home. I had to do a lot of unscheduled travel over the last week and didn't see any matches and barely got to see the results.

    I am back in the real world now and fcuk it is depressing. I must admit I am genuinely shocked by our results over the week. Maybe it is time to align with the mature heads of jcv et al. I really can't see a way out of where we are. :(

  • Vital the one overriding factor in these results though is PLs tactical naivety.Pl is destroying us with his selection and tactics!!

  • Guest - villa6002

    No Lambert interview on SSN after the game,,must be avoiding the cameras.

  • Guest - expat007

    jcv
    Steady Mate; and you said you didn’t care.

    We were both right and that gives no satisfaction for we Villa fans.

    Where do we go from here, I think with a new manager that we could still have a chance of staying up, but with Rab C Lambert all is up.

    All that matters is staying in the Premiership.

  • the thing is and weve proved it in spells is that this squad could stay up but our muppet manager doesnt know what hes doing with it.

  • Guest - Deano&Dalian

    Martin Keown completely laying into PL on 5Live. Blame has to stick with him, picked system that doesn't work, sucking the confidence out of the young players, not getting the team set up right etc

  • Guest - PROUD HISTORY , SHIT FUTURE?

    why did he start a 3-5-2 system again ??
    its not been working / our player in CM are too **** for it
    he is really not making things easy on himself

  • Guest - spurfect one

    You got to speculate to accumuate, Newcastle have with some good signings while villa are stagnating.

  • Guest - Vital_Loans

    Jcv

    Just reading thru the posts and see your post looking for the Lambert loving fans. I am here and will accept my stoning :)

    I was sooooo convinced he was the right man

  • Guest - gmjvilla

    The board have 2 days to retain our EPL status. Do nothing and we are fooked. The current team are low on confidence and will not survive in this league. Sad times at VP.

    In a strange way the last 15 mins of the game were very entertaining. Newcastle were ****. They've splashed the cash but you can see they were spent by 70min mark when we shouldve got an equalizer.

    2 days assholes. You have 2 days.

  • Guest - VillaJack

    Time for Lambert After Match Bingo!!

    - Please with the Effort
    - Cannot Fault the lads
    - No new players coming in
    - I am not giving up
    - Randy has been great
    - Cannot defend like that and get away with it
    - Gotta pick ourselves up and go again
    - Mumble mumble

    Cross them off as is says them!!

    **** off Lambert - Tonights result completely down to your inept, clueless, negative team selection in the first half.

  • Guest - PROUD HISTORY , SHIT FUTURE?

    Sissoko looks good player don't he ?

    Maybe we should have sig.....oh.

  • I've tried to stay positive with the PL thing, but he keeps getting the fundamental things so wrong, so often that it just beggars belief. 3-5-2 hasn't worked. It didn't really work against Liverpool, but we won that match, and it's been a disaster since, and he keeps using it anyway. We don't have any width because we play without wingers, but we don't have creators in the middle that would compensate for the lack of width. We could potentially have two strikers that combine for 35 goals this season in all competitions and still get relegated. We would be a better team with Alex McLeish in charge, I'm sorry to say it, but it's true. Lambert reminds me of myself trying something new on Football Manager, except unlike me, he can't just quit and restart when the team is thumped at home by Wigan. He's not going to sort it out, and we're just not going to start winning games playing a 3-5-2 with two mediocre fullbacks that can't attack, a back 3 that doesn't seem to know who to look toward for guidance, and three midfielders who are all the size of 13-year-old girls. It will just not happen. If I were Benteke/N'Zogbia/Weimann, I'd be hoping some other team bids on me too.

  • ill actually put my head on the block and say without a shadow of a doubt that ANY other manager in the EPL would keep this squad up!! When you hear of other teams losing its the other team were superb,silly mistakes,one man runs the show,when do you ever hear the term "consistently making tactical,formation,personell mistakes",he is the worst manager in the epl by a mile.He doesnt know the basics of tactical management and hes not learning from his mistakes by continuously doing the same thing.What a muppet!!!!!!!

  • Guest - VillaJack

    Time for Lambert After Match Bingo!!

    - Please with the Effort
    - Cannot Fault the lads
    - No new players coming in
    - I am not giving up
    - Randy has been great
    - Cannot defend like that and get away with it
    - Gotta pick ourselves up and go again
    - Mumble mumble

    Cross them off as is says them!!

    **** off Lambert - Tonights result completely down to your inept, clueless, negative team selection in the first half.

  • Guest - paulb

    Dont get too carried away with the 2nd half performance, they were 2 up and sat back to protect the lead. The manager looks like he is bombroof from Lerner. Unless there is a shock move in the transfer market in these next two days we are done for. And yes there is no indication that we will finish anywhere other than bottom of the table. If this had happened under McLeish we would have been incensed and yet there are still some prepared to back PL most notably the owner.
    How does Doug Ellis sit there and watch this????

  • Oh forgot to mention even with a five man defence we let cisse score

  • Guest - astonman

    Enough is enough Lambert has got to go Wigan Southampton and Newcastle our relegation rivals have all left villa park with 3 points its gone beyond a joke. The only reason this clown has not been sacked is that dubmsh*t Lerner wont pay his compo. Lerner has done nothing to help avoid the.drop. He wont back him because of money and wont sack him because of money ! The reality is no matter who the manager is they will fail because of the way we are being run, Lerner will not pay decent fees or wages which means we will only ever sign cheap low quality players. There is NO future under this owner he is a disaster for Aston Villa FC. We are heading for the.rocks because of him its up to fans to wake up and take action

  • too right jcv.We would have more points at this stage with Muckleish without a shadow of doubt!!!

  • Guest - expat007

    Just seen Lambert being interview on SKY and it was the best he has given, I understood him and he made sense. What he said was so depressing and gave no hope for any signings and he is still of the opinion that nothing has changed.

    I thought I saw him on the bench, did he miss the goals and does he not know the other results, you Pratt you thinks things have not changed, they have they have got worst.

    What are you fu*king on Lambert as I must get some and then the wife will be beautiful again

  • Guest - Rw

    ARE YOU STEVE KEEN IN DISGUISE?!!!!! ARE YOU STEVE KEEN IN DISGUISE?!

    Thick skinned, won't resign, he wants his pay-day, he's crumbling inside cos he's out of his depth and doesn't know wtf to do!

    He'll take us down, god knows how many times I've said that on here!
    He'll be sacked, leave with enough money to buy his own island and will not give a fcuk as he laughs about it over a nice glass of red, meanwhile, we're condemned to the abyss for years on end! YOU JUST COULD NOT MAKE IT UP!

    Lerner must be doing this on purpose because no businessman would take this option knowing the financial losses involved and reprocussions from the paying fans who will turn their backs on him!

    Our discussions should be about playing in the Champs next season.

    Radio pundits are dissing PL & RL for their part in it, the fans and media can suggest the remedy, some at no cost, but why can't RL & PL?
    F&*king mystifying!
    Really well and truly sick to the back teeth of not being listened to. F&*k the club, i'll be an arm-chair fan from now on, the big cheese and his inept footballing staff can kiss my arse.
    If RL & PL can insult us fans like this and still expect to take my money they have another thing coming!!!!!!
    A pub team manager could employ better tactics than PL.

  • Guest - VillaJack

    Anyone fancy a new manager ??

    Adkins ??
    Di Matteo ??
    Gregory ??
    Big Ron ??
    Millwall Manager ??
    Bradford Manager ??

    We have to try something, are the players that **** ?? No 2nd half was better, but Lambert got it totally wrong 1st half and totally to blame for this defeat. A new manager, some confidence, different approach, supply Bent and the forwards with the ball and we can still get out of the ****.

    Do nothing and we will finish bottom and be down by Easter

  • It says it all about PL's management that people are already saying McLeish would've been better. It could not be worse than it has been.

  • Guest - MagicBox

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

    We really are going down aren't we? I never thought we would but the reality is now sinking in.

  • Guest - Deano&Dalian

    Yes, we really are going down. Three have to, and we are one of them.

  • Is it bad that I forgot Villa were even playing when I don't even have anything else to do? What's the point in watching them really, might as well watch Only Fools and Horses. VTID still though

  • jcv,if youre really off you take care mate youre a legend!!! Im gone myself end of season when we go down,ill be ok ive got my Rugby which i love.I feel sorry for our fans i really do,its so hurtfull!!!!

  • And about the title, 15 cup finals, we couldn't get ourselves up for a semi finals against a league 2 team to get to a actual final so what chance do we have against premier league opposition

  • On the bright side, Weimann will score 20 in the Championship next year.

  • Guest - jvilan

    bent has been blamed for so much yet tonight when we need a finnisher he was subbed same as bradford

  • And about the title, 15 cup finals, we couldn't get ourselves up for a semi finals against a league 2 team to get to a actual final so what chance do we have against premier league opposition

  • Guest - villa4life

    Weimann is to good for the championship, I'm sure a few clubs will come calling if we go down

  • Guest - Vital_Loans

    Jcv

    We have had our debates and disagreed over the last year and I have and do enjoy them. I always felt you will be eating humble pie in June.

    Christ I was so so wrong it is embarrassing. You have been spot on with everything u have said.

    Where do we go from here?

  • I just cannot believe Lerner can sit and do nothing and let this happen, we all knew months ago we needed a midfield, Sissoko ripped us a new one first half for 2/3 m he should have been in a villa shirt 1st Jan whatever the wage, now the same thing with Diame, give Lambert the money !, this is just unforgivable Randy, you are not a fan, you can't be.
    Two decent midfield players that's all we needed, and the solution was readily available at bargin prices , just does not make any sense at all.
    Not sure how much more of this i can take, again, everyone and his dog knows we have to play today with speed and width, it's so blatantly obvious that we should have gone 442 from the start with Weimann & Gabby supplying crosses for Benteke, Zoggy in a free role in the pocket behind, this is by far our best formation, its what they are all used to playing FFS !
    Yet again same mistakes PL never seems to learn, play anyone else but Bannan & Bennett have you not seen enough of them to know that by now ? I have been supportive of Lambert, real tough job he was prepared to take on & I think Randy has just hung him out to dry with no funds, but when he keeps making these same selection mistakes & poor tactics I really makes me wonder, how does he expect the team to learn if he does not ? most of us on here could pick a better team.
    I don't think PL's going anywhere, but we really do need a midfield presence, two days left Randy the clock is ticking !

  • Guest - VillaJack

    Played better in the 2nd half, but do not forget the goal was a penalty!!
    Cannot have played that well

  • Guest - belcs

    We will not win again under lamberk, simple as that.
    Tactically the worst manager ever. Even with good players, you cannot keep chopping and changing the formation every half and every game, they don't know where they are, let alone with a bunch as brainless and as useless as the current turds in the team.
    No point bothering with the rest of the season, at least on the plus side we won't have to endure a final day relegation battle, we'll be down weeks before that.

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