Against Manchester United last week, we went for it. Today, we never really did. On more than one occasion in the first half, during open play and not a corner or free kick, we had all but one player in the box defending.

There is little you can do when you sit back so deep and allow so many of the opposition players to come at you, especially a team like Manchester City. They didn't need fight today, we gave them the ball where they like it and let them play.

But we were never really going to win were we and most accepted that. The thing is, right now, after twelve games (very nearly a third of the way through the season), we've got a goal difference of -12, only nine points and we sit in the relegation zone.

Relegation zone

Did you read that part? Yes, as of right now, we're in the relegation zone and up next we have Arsenal. Does anyone fancy us getting anything from that?

And this isn't me calling for anything and I'm all for pretty football, but there comes a time when we can't let this go on and Lambert really does have to turn it around soon, because if he doesn't, there is every chance the owner might.

For our owner, Premier League football is all and he isn't going to risk that for anything. But he'll be okay with a 5-0 defeat to Manchester City because he can live with that.

Points count

Again, this isn't me calling for anything and I like the football we are trying to play, but today we didn't try to play it and despite all the pretty football, points on the table are what count.

We have nine from a possible 36 and things need to change, very quickly. I don't like 'relegation' word and the last two seasons I've been quite clear that we wont go down, mostly because there were three worse teams than us. Right now, as of today, I don't see three worse teams.

Which puts my in a difficult place, because I like what Lambert is trying to do, but the thing is, he has to start doing it more quickly.

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 - smcvilla

    Lerner and Faulkner
    Get out of our club NOW. It's time somebody else had a go.:(

  • Lambert's policy - buy young hungry players, i am yet to see the hunger from any of his signings
    it's ok building for the future but you have to do it with a mix of experience and youth over time
    blending 2/3 youth players into your team so the senior players experience keeps the team stability while the youth are developed,
    you cannot fill your team with inexperienced lower league youth players and expect them to cope with the pace of the premier league,
    it's a recipe for disaster
    our very own experienced senior players are Ireland & gabby,bent
    albrighton & bannan & clark are still learning there trade in the top flight of english football
    maybe if we were in 2nd or 3rd tier of the football league you can do what Lambert is doing
    but we are Aston Villa a established premier league club
    Lambert did great at Norwich but i think he is out of his depth at villa
    some of the football as got better but in all honesty it could not get any worse after Mcleish era,
    it's ok trying to play from the back passing movement etc, but football is a results buisness that is why we as villa fans we should not keep saying he needs time etc etc,
    lerner is a cheap skate no investment of his own in villa,he simply issues us loans and take interest on them loans from us,
    lerner wants to develope the youth so he does not have to pay the wage demands of top players,deadly doug had is faults but i would take doug any day of the week over lerner,doug loves villa lerner does not in my opinion, we are a simple investment for lerner where he will always earn money from villa what ever tier of football we play in,
    i dont rate Bannan,i never have, but he as got better this season i hold my hands up,but the reason he looks better his the rest of the lambert players brought in who he plays are so much poorer,that is why bannan appears to have improved,
    personally i would like to see lambert sacked now
    and try and get harry in to save us
    but lerner wont do that cos lambert is his new fall guy

  • Guest - expat007

    You may find this interesting. The number of times the following sides play each other is high and they are 6 pointers.

    13.Norwich City 14 points -9 GD
    14.Stoke City 12 points -1 GD- Game in hand
    15.Sunderland 12 points -2 GD- Game in hand
    16.Wigan 11 points -9 GD
    17.Reading 9 points -5 GD- Game in hand
    18.Aston Villa 9 points -12 GD
    19.Southampton 8 points -12 GD
    20.Queens Park Rangers 4 points -14 GD

    11/24 Everton v. Norwich City
    11/28 @ Southampton
    12/02 Norwich City v. Sunderland 6 pointer
    12/08 Swansea City v. Norwich City

    11/19 West Ham United v. Stoke City
    11/24 Stoke City v. Fulham
    11/28 Stoke City v. Newcastle United
    12/01 West Bromwich Albion v. Stoke City
    12/08 @ Villa

    11/24 Sunderland v. West Bromwich Albion
    11/27 Sunderland v. Queens Park Rangers 6 pointer
    12/02 @ Norwich
    12/08 Sunderland v. Chelsea

    11/24 Wigan Athletic v. Reading 6 pointer
    11/28 Wigan Athletic v. Manchester City
    12/03 Newcastle United v. Wigan Athletic
    12/08 Wigan Athletic v. Queens Park Rangers 6 pointer

    11/24 Aston Villa v. Arsenal
    11/27 Aston Villa v. Reading 6 pointer
    12/01 @ QPR
    12/08 Aston Villa v. Stoke City 6 pointer

    11/24 @Wigan
    11/27 @ Villa
    12/01 Reading v. Manchester United
    12/08 @ Southampton

    11/25 Southampton v. Newcastle United
    11/28 Southampton v. Norwich City 6 pointer
    12/01 Liverpool v. Southampton
    12/08 Southampton v. Reading 6 pointer

    11/24 Manchester United v. Queens Park Rangers
    11/27 @ Sunderland
    12/01 Queens Park Rangers v. Aston Villa 6 pointer
    12/08 @ Wigan

  • Guest - truevillan

    the problem with this team is the youth and inexperience, if Lambert had built this team in League one and played them, taken them to the Championship, then to the premiership, they would be fine, but to build and play this team in the premiership is suicide!
    The defense is woeful, 3 young, inexperienced players in a 4 man defence! you should never do this, Right now Warnock, as much as I do not like him, would do better in defence, experienced old head.
    The midfield is just a flavour of the week, constantly changing.
    The attack shows signs of life, and while Gabby does play well once in a blue moon, I will never know how he had such a long and well paid career at the top, he is useless! a striker with 1 prem goal in 20+ matches, that is poor from a midfielder, but a striker!
    we need points and fast, I fear another thrashing from Arsenal could finish off this young teams confidence.
    and to cap off a bad week, our improving striker (Benteke) saying he wants to play for Arsenal, tells us he will be off as soon as his stock is up, we even signed a kid from Sweden and he said much the same, make my name and join a big club! we are a joke!

  • Guest - salty

    Last week a young cockerel, today a feather duster. I think this will be the story of the season; don't despair just yet folks...we can get something against The Arse, then a real crunch vs Reading. What would be a good return- 6/6:o, 4/6:D or 3/6:)? Anything less begins to be a real problem.

  • Guest - expat007


    Absolutely, if a team has played in the 1st Division and got promoted and then done the same in the Championship they will have a chance of surviving in the Premiership. But to take individual players from the lower divisions and throw then in the deep end they will drown.

    That’s not to say that they could make the grade given time and groomed with experienced Premiership players. The way PL is doing it will mean that their confidence will be shattered.

  • Guest - Sacktherelegator

    Pleased I kept my name from last season

  • Yes salty 0 points from our next two games and even my positivity will begin to drain.

  • Guest - granger

    which players from last year should be in the team ahead of Lamberts signings?

  • Guest - mon 4-5-1

    So which Lambert have we got - before he joined I said, we will get Lambert of Norwich or the Lambert of the moment it's seriously looking like the Lambert of Livingston...

  • We were hammered by Southampton what makes people think we will beat Reading and even if we do it may mean we are still in the bottom 3 depending on other results. Last season we had a few points in hand going into Christmas - cant see it happening this season. Its dire and we are struggling against teams around us.

  • Guest - mon 4-5-1


    the problem is that we are trying to build a side with bargain basement signings from the lower leagues domestically. Now if that is not a recipe for disaster then again, I don't know what is. Bennet, Westwood, Bowery, Lowton may all be good players, but were they really needed after the disaster of last season and youngsters we already have in the squad?

    Lowton, is he really better the Lichaj? from the performances I have seen so far I would put Lichaj ahead of Lowton.

    Is Bennet really any better than Warnock or Stevens?

    el ahmadi was needed to cover for the defensive midfielder role, but we needed another 1 if not 2 midfielders, with a box to box driving midfielder being the highest priority - did we get them, no, we spent vast majority of the transfer budget on another striker.

    Is Benteke any better than Bent?

    The biggest disappointment so far is some of the key players being dropped. We need to utilize Bent and Nzogbia better, they should still have a big part to play. Instead Lambert has decided he will ostracize them.

    All in all, I agree some of what Lambert has done, but there are fundamental areas he needed to address in the summer...midfield which he has ignored and we are now paying the price...

  • Guest - WelshVilla


    Cheers mate. I try to keep the posts interesting and with substance ;)

  • Look guys, I know that you're upset and emotional, 12 games 9 points and all that, but some saying they now want Hutton back sums it all up for me about reactionary fans.


  • Guest - Rw

    I think that some Villa fans have their heads stuck in the sand thinking that we'll be ok because the 2nd half of the season will be more rewarding, lerner will sack PL or even invest heavily. Personally, I think the players need to give the extra 10% when defending and going forward instead of thinking that another player will do it, because come new years day if we're riding on 18 points then sorry gents but we are down. The young fullbacks are going to be good players in 3 years time but not now, Vlaar is made to look ordinary by clark who is just not good enough to be a first choice centre-back, El-Almadi is so casual and lightweight, Bannan, Albrighton & Ireland inconsistant, Westwood needs 1- 2 years nuturing, Benteke is powerful but lacks a cutting edge and finesse at this moment in time and Gabby plays well 1/6 games. So what do we have? A team of triers but all fizz and no pop!
    I believe in the style of PL's football but as many state, too many inexperienced players expected to cut it on enthusiasm alone. It's a sign of the times when pundits rip into us saying how shocking we are as we've been poor for 3 seasons now. Personally I thought pre-season we should've scoured Scandanavia for hardened dogged defenders at a great transfer fee, god knows there's plenty of them. We should've replaced Stan as the industry and quality has vanished and then bought at least one tricky wide player. Thought MA would've been trying to impress this season and drive us on but he is a championship player, all pace and no idea how to beat a defender! We will lose against Arsenal and a draw looks likely against Reading. Stoke coming up too, they will mug us too as they've got proven premiership experience. Let's just hope we turn-up from January and hopefully sign at least 2 or 3 good players or forget it lads. Gutted here, this is our famous Aston Villa and we're sinking fast!

  • Westwood, Bennet and Lowton should have been blooded via our reserves the gap between where they have come from and the PL is immense and they should have been used to put pressure on those in their positions now they are automatic choices without being good enough or ready.

  • Lack of knowledge of premiership players? I think you've chosen the wrong words there mate.

    On Lerner, it does seem that the board don't know football, he has chosen what he thought was the fans choice twice though and trusted them, one put the club on the road to financial ruin, the other we have now.

  • I go along with PL being the fans choice of manager but with a decent budget to bring in decent players I dont blame PL its RL and PF I hold responsible trouble is PL will cop all the flack as he is the manager. Good businessmen dont make good football men.

  • I've ready many posts this lat two days. Can mostly be summed up by either our squad isn't good enough or too young and the camp that says our squad's not that bad and it's all PL fault. Well I fall into the squad's not good enough and especially the midfield which has to be one of the weakest I have witnessed in 55 years of loving our club. If you look at all of the EPL teams with exception of Southampton and Reading then they all have experienced battled hardened EPL players in their midst. Yes our back line is inexperienced but it is exposed time and time again by our weak midfield. Nothing can be done about this till Jan. Sacking the manager will not make them better. We have been weak there for years. I hope that PL is given the money to turn it round. If all he is given is a licence to buy more Championship players then that is what we will get next year. It is not just about the transfer fees. You can get quality players on frees and low transfers but if you pay them monkey nut wages then you will not get the quality we want.
    As for Hutton and Warnock KEEP them well away from VP, what makes anybody think that they are any better than what we have, did nobody watch them play last year liabilities every time they played and now they would surely have even less commitment. PL has been dealt a bum hand by the true culprit RL. We are and have been for some time a very badly run club and the consequences are now coming home to roost so that even with a January blood transfusion the patient might not be saved. Very sad state of affairs

  • jvc
    In my opinion PL ignored the PL market because he couldn't pay the wage demands of these players

  • jcv: the money he was given! or lack of it.

  • My point was, obviously he knows the players, but has decided to take different options.

    Is 20mil peanuts? Possibly. Its more than most though.

  • Warnock is just a liabilty, many times last year when he played this blog hammered him

  • AS for 20million it was peanuts considering the state of our squad, he needed way more

  • PL also went for quantity rather than quality I suspect he was told how much he had to spend and told to spend it how he felt it would best benefit the club.

  • jvc I agree £4M for Charlie Adam was a snip but I bet his wage demands were more than PF and RL would sanction, that's my point his hands are tied

  • Now you want Charlie Adam, it just gets better.

  • We should learn from Spurs they buy decent players and move decent players on their net spend is nothing we could not compete with. We have taken a massive gamble that has not and does not look like paying off.

  • Guest - mon 4-5-1

    Cheers JCV....

    Randy Learner,

    if 20 million was all he had - which by the way is the same budget West Ham had when coming up and lot more than some of the other clubs above us who where expected favorites to go down - then why did he spend it on bargain base players that have not improved the current squad in any way shape or form?

    The point is not about individual players, but the thought process that goes behind it. Two ten million pound midfielders with some experience - ideally from Spain, where you can pick up some good players due to the financial state of Spanish clubs would have been a better option. It would have helped in bedding in current crop of youngsters we had.

    We now have 2 two options:

    . Sack Paul Lambert by Christmas if results continue in the same vain
    . Lerner will back Lambert in winter transfer window and then it's fingers crossed

    I suspect it will be option 2 and hope it's not to late for us by then...

  • I'm sorry for disagreeing with you jcv, what opinion are you asking for?

  • Guest - mon 4-5-1

    Randy Learner,

    the point to my last post if it did not sink in is that you can invest in potential up to a point. Then it's about quality and not quantity. The only quality we have - if you want to go by proven premiership experience and monies we have paid is Bent and Nzogbia, and all Lambert has done it Ostracize these players.

    It's like a manager joining a company, demoting the senior staff to the bench, and promoting all the graduates to take over from the senior staff. Yes, bring in the youngsters, but few at a time with some quality players around them...

  • Have I ever said he should he is right to blood all these youngsters. Or that his signings are amazing, a few quality players from abroad is what I'd like as well.

    Signings a little like my man laudrup would be great.

  • In fact I think you might have got completely the wrong end of the stick Mon.

    Jcv, I don't see the need to make fake criteria on signings, i'll use cabaye and tiote as examples for now.

  • Guest - Rw

    Steve in Ireland, i totally agree. The midfield (the worst Villa midfield i've ever witnessed) is so weak and lightweight we struggle to compete most of the time, which exposes the defence, but that said the defenders are just too inexperienced as they get caught ball-watching, don't step up at the right time so players are played on-side and cannot pass for toffee when going forward cos they're thinking about the last mis-placed pass they made 10mins earlier! There's no way RL will sack PL, no way, not going to happen! I get what PL wants to achieve and i like what he did at Norwich but he's tactically caught-out every week, his post match comments are seriously deluded and baffling to the point that it sounds like he doesn't even know what he's talking about! I just don't get that mentality at all.................Though, pre-season I really did think he'd do well at Villa.
    Behind the scenes, was he told to buy young, spend little on wages and buy no stars due to ego's etc? We'll never know.
    What I do know is, that we are a non-competitive side who are rolled over and bullied if put under pressure and should we go a goal behind it looks a long way back, 2 goals behind and we look done for. We have played well in a handful of games albeit in fits & starts but thats all.
    So we shall see, i hope PL nails the right formula over the next 2-3 games or as we are all'll be game over, and that's unthinkable for a club like us. UTV

  • See you jcv, one prem player I thought we did need was bassong.

  • Guest - Rocco

    It's been a very difficult start to Lamberts villa career and he hasn't done himself any favours however he isn't Mclleish, we wanted him out and PL in so we have to stick with him end of

    We need to keep positive till the window opens and then need that twat Faulkner and Forest Lerner to get his cheque book out

    May I suggest that they take a drive up the M6 and buy one of those horrible centre halves from Stoke, then go and blow the dust off Darren Bent and then make an insulting offer to Liverpool and buy back Stuart Downing.

    I know that I will get slagged for that but the way we are set up int working so lets go back to wingers and also give Nzog a final chance

  • Here are a few things i believe to be true , no proof, just my thoughts

    1/ PL was given the job knowing there was a limited budget, Pl thought this was not a problem, as he has limited knowledge of EPL players anyway and is used to developing lower league players.
    2/ He was told to get rid of overpaid leaky defence (we had a leaky defence last year also), unfortunately he was only able to move Collins.
    3/ Bent was always expendable but said no to a Newcastle move in the summer.
    4/ Dempsey was a major target, vital piece, but he had his heart set on Liverpool.
    5/ Pl expected a lot more from KEA, jury still out
    6/ Bent & N'Zogbia are actually injured
    7/ PL's exit from Norwich was not as smooth as he thought it would be, hence he was not able to move for Holt, Hoolahan or Pilkington.
    8/ Tactically for the most part he has got it right, the subs, have been forced by tired players, or in an effort to blood new players, after the game is already lost. We played a 451 last two games - not 433 as some mention.
    9/ PL is still looking for 2 or 3 players to strengthen the midfield.
    10/ There will be cash available in Jan and there always was, as he told Randy he would need at least two windows to make a good start on the huge overhaul job we need.
    11/ I believe his lackluster interviews lately are because he is truely as disappointed as us fans.
    12/ Our team are learning, we have seen some improvements and we are still only two wins or so from mid table.

    We have to stick with PL and get behind him, like a lot of PL managers he needs time and a decent chance, all fans these days are so ready to chop and change, should we not at least give him a season to prove himself ? , remember this is what the majority of us fans were saying when he was appointed.

  • Guest - George

    Ron Saunders was Villa manager for 8 years.

    When he took over in '74 we'd finished 14th in the old Div 2 and though he revamped the squad over the forthcoming years he inherited some great player such as Rioch, Nicholl and Graydon - we also had some amazing players coming through like Little and Cowans. Many of the player that Saunders bought were complete unknowns like Evans, Andy Gray & Des Bremner, others he brought in like Carrodus and McNaught we considered little more than journey-men 'top-flighters'.

    Saunders was a top man but he had the relative luxury of starting in Div 2 with very low expectations and had some great players already in place.

    Lambert has done what all of know we needed - a complete overhaul ... and he's had very little money to do it with - imagine if he'd, as some suggest, gone out and bough 2 £10m prem players with the money he was given - we'd be stuck with the same old dross as last year - that's exactly what McTwat would have done.

    What he has done is really ballsy, he's backed his judgement and ability and refreshed the squad with young talented players - sure we'd gotten hammered a couple of times and will again as the season progresses because he's not inherited what Saunders did (a solid spine to his team) and he's had to make wholesale changes in the Prem unlike Saunders who could build slowly from a division down.

    I love the fact we have a completely new back four - Vlaar is ace, Lowton a real gem.

    I love the fact that we have young players coming in who look like with a bit of experience will be real favourites like Westwood and Big Ben.

    He's building a team the way it should be done - not bringing in mercenary cast-offs from others ... look what's happened to QPR FFS.

    I couldn't give a stuff what happens this year - I really hope and believe that we won't go down but if that's what we need to 'get it right' - rather that than more of the same old mid-table mediocrity dross.

    Anyone who has the balls to do what he has done by getting wholesale rid of the pissheads & donkeys ripping off our club and replace them with players of genuine promise and talent is alight in my book.

    What he has done, with the squad we had, was what was needed and is the ONLY way to build a proper team with a chance of long-term success - he'd done what Ferguson would have done, what Wenger would have done and for that matter Sir Ron Saunders .

  • I read all the posts today ...
    Please no Downing back, Martinez said no (twice), as Harry would, and please we do not need Hutton & Warnock back in the side.
    "Experienced" PL players are what qpr have , sunderland will never learn to play well under mon & anyone who believes west ham will be where they are at the end of the season is dreaming. Norwich have given a lot of teams a good game lately, they are well organized a largely unchanged side that PL built. reading & southampton have been playing together for some time as fairly unchanged sides.
    I too admire the way Arsenal are run & play the game.
    did i miss anything :)

  • It seems neither George nor myself are "young fans" as someone mentioned, (funny i thought the younger fans were supposed to be less patient) anyway, it does appear we have a lot more patience than some.
    It appears your glass is either half full or half empty !

  • Still cant accept that relegation is a price worth paying as is being suggested by some. It would kill us, this is not the 70's, big clubs dont automatically come straight back up, we simply have to ensure we dont go down which will mean spending serious money in January, as money seems to be Randy's sole motivation I would hope he understands the premis of speculate to accumulate because he is going to have to spend to give us any chance of staying up.

  • It's all well and good trying to play or actually playing attractive football but there are times and places to do it and the place isn't an away game against opposition like that. That game was made for Villa to play counter attacking football, to get in hard with tackles and to use the wings and not to sit back and defend. If you do that to the likes of them, you lose even before you've kicked the ball.

    At least we've got 'hope' this season because PL is trying to do the right thing, last year the team weren't even playing for the manager but hope isn't sufficient. It's all well and good playing young and inexperienced players but within a team like that, you have to have older heads and I think that's one of the things we're missing as well as playing players in the wrong position like Wiemann.

    If we're still in the same position by the end of January, or the start of September, it will be time to worry but on Saturday we were playing a team that has spent billions, not millions but billions and that's hard to play against. They are trying to buy titles, we're using young players to build for the future.

  • John Salter: trouble is Southampton did it to us as well not just Man City.

  • We struggle to score then when we do we struggle to hold a lead, and with an inaffective midfield we will struggle to win games. We will be over run in midfield by Arsenal who are stronger than most in this area.

  • Guest - Dee

    Agree totally with JVC and expat007. I can't believe some fans are ok with bottom 3? PL is simply making excuses-his record is pitiful. Is it unreasonable to expect him to at least arrest the slide if not take us up the table? i fear relegation- i remember the words of Billy McNeill "when a big club like Villa starts to slide, its very difficult to stop".

    I am being dispassionate here and basing myself on past/current results, spend and style of football-unfortuantely PL has failed on all scores. Sack him and move on otherwise we may not survive.

  • Guest - villaranger

    There must be something serious wrong with our types of players and their skills, sure it's difficult to understand scottish, but my explicit opinion is that we need to get rid of Stephen Ireland (pig schnell).

  • If all of our failed transfer and managerial targets last summer we're made known, I'm guessing it would make for a depressing read. I'd bet alot of them are names that have already been mentioned as our potential saviours.

    But Dempsey and Martinez knew it - that much we know. They knew that this club is tainted by an owner who does not know what he's doing, makes too many poor decisions and promises too much to its fans.

    My point is, we can sack everyone, but I'm betting no-one better would come, only foreign players who are desperate to get on the radar in premiership football (does that sound familiar?). Any more instability at this club will certainly torpedo us further.

    If PL manages to avoid relegation this year he deserves the eternal gratitude of Villa fans. Yes I'm sure other better managers would have gotten better results, but they didn't come did they? I'm fairly sure PL's task is alot more than re-building and trying to get a team to gel.

    I think the club and its fans need to stop harping on about how we're a big club etc. because right now the only people that believe it is us. Just go and ask any Tesco's fan.

    Right now we need to find some trench warfare mentality and stop the bickering no matter how valid that may be. Nothing will change at least until January, we are stuck where we are and with what we've got. That's the reality.

    Unless RL decides to sell up, I'm afraid this is our lot as Villa fans. Let's not be in a position where in 12 months time we're in the championship saying that we wish we still had Delph or Bennett, because with our present owner, that scenario isn't out of the question.

    It's no use at this point in the season saying we all deserve better than that.

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