Two differing performances, the same inevitable result. Villa’s slide continued with defeats to runaway league leaders Chelsea and a poor Hull City side. But then came the long overdue news of Paul Lambert’s sacking, and from nowhere renewed hope has sprung. Here’s a look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Villa’s last week both on and off the pitch.

 

Good

It was encouraging to see Villa resolutely hold firm after conceding a soft early goal in the Chelsea game. The capitulation that I can only assume everyone was expecting never arrived; the midfield were impressive in refusing to be overrun by the away side’s vastly superior quality, and in fact Villa were just as in the game as Chelsea were – if not more so during certain periods.

The obvious major plus point was that rarest of things: a goal for Aston Villa Nil. Sorry, I mean Aston Villa. Carles Gil’s quality was on clear display for the equaliser, showing superb sleight of foot to work his way into a crossing position and delivering perfectly for Jores Okore’s first goal for the club. I think most of us had forgotten how we were supposed to react, hadn’t we?

Gil continues to stand out as a class above the rest of the Villa side, taking the ball at every opportunity and driving forward. If Scott Sinclair can be galvanised by Paul Lambert’s replacement and start to reproduce the sort of form he showed at Swansea before his ill-advised switch to Manchester City, Villa’s midfield could begin to carry a genuine threat again.

[quote_center]’Given the severity of the club’s present situation in the league, the risks weren’t actually that great.’ Lambert’s sacking[/quote_center]

Paul Lambert’s dismissal will stand out as the high point of an otherwise dismal week for most Villa fans. The best part about it, in a way, is that Villa can hardly get much worse than they have been under the man who may well go down as the worst manager in the club’s history.

After the Hull defeat, there was no real choice between sticking and twisting, even considering the apparently unbreakable bond that seemed to exist between Lambert and Randy Lerner.

CEO Tom Fox warned about the ‘coin toss’ of sacking Lambert, but it had got to a stage where, given the severity of the club’s present situation in the league, the risks weren’t actually that great. Had Lambert remained in charge, it looked inconceivable that Villa would have been a Premier League club come August. In sacking him, Lerner has thrown the club a belated lifeline.

A note of caution, however. Remember Villa fans’ chanted plea for Lambert to join the club from Norwich? Hindsight is both a great and terrible thing, and the club need to make a far more astute appointment than that of Lambert or the nonsensical, ridiculous decision to bring in Alex McLeish before him.

 

 

The real problem is that Villa are in a perilous position with 13 games to go, and as a result are going to be a particularly tough sell to any potential new managers. Regardless, what the club must do is appoint a manager who has the motivational skills and tactical nous which Lambert was so severely lacking, and who can get Villa’s players performing and scoring again.

At this stage, the focus has to be on the short-term. Survival is all that’s important before the summer, and I would argue that now would be precisely the wrong time to gamble on a manager who is an unknown entity. Experience will be key in the run-in, particularly as whoever is named as the Scot’s replacement arguably doesn’t have to do much more than instil fresh confidence and spirit into the squad. The talent required to stay up is undoubtedly there in the squad – Gil, Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph, to name but a few, are undoubtedly Premier League class.

If an ailing group of players can be revitalised, there is still plenty of time for Villa to battle to safety. In particular, the problem of the appalling lack of goals which has plagued the club all season needs solving immediately if Villa are to preserve their ever-present Premier League record. The major remaining pressure is that of time – the club need to act quickly, wisely and decisively to prevent a dreadful season from becoming the biggest catastrophe in the club’s recent history.

Click ‘Next’ for the Bad and Ugly

Opt In Image
BECOME A FREE MOMS E-MEMBER
Exclusive extras, newsletter & supporter issues news
1
2
SHARE

5 COMMENTS

  1. Nargh, only Newcastle do Messiahs, Son Lyme your story of the young player is common place and means…..well nothing really.
    Lambert was one of those in charge….he was in charge of all things connected to the team!
    your friend who chose to use hushed tones to tell you his opinion sounds like an experienced voice who is connected to the club? and I would hope that after 3 years of Lambert he would be just as astute about Lambert’s tactics as he was about the young youth player?
    You are right that Lambert respected the club, but I think that was half the problem…he respected everyone, including the players, media, fans, and everybody’s dog!
    To succeed as a manger in the premier league these days I think you need more than respect,
    The young players now don’t give a flying fig if the bloke that manages them has won a medal or played for his country, they only respect him if they are picked every week, and when they aren’t they go on social media to slag him off!
    You sound like you feel guilty that he has been sacked, or sorry for him in some way?
    Personally I don’t know Lambert but he comes across as a decent bloke who has worked his socks off and tried his very best to improve us under very restrictive circumstances, he found a couple of gems in Benteke and Gil and may have been influential in Delphi resigning, but take one look at his stats and his unconditional insistance to start Cleverly every game and think about where he has progressed us too?
    Then raise a glass congratulate him on his severance package and move on VTID

  2. Well he’s finally gone. Those who say he was under financial constraint need to llok at the stats that tell me in less than 3 years his net spend was 40m compared with Evertons 58m since the prem began in 1992! What on earth were the in less people in charge thinking? A new contract for the worst manager in our history. By the way Mcdonald won half his matches with a record that would have finished 8th last season. Who next? We needed someone like Pulls at xmas who could done things to keep us up. Anyone will do better than Lambert though Won’t they? We do have some players who are capable but many who are not and many other Lambert signings who would hardly get into a parks team who will continue toay millions to. Wouldn’t it have been sensible to have dumped Lambert in jan with no contract and spent the 10m on a decent player?

  3. I appreciate many are rejoicing at Lambert’s dismissal, but I am puzzled by the ineptitude of those in charge of our great club. If Lambert wasn’t good enough in February, he wasn’t good enough in January. To wait until the transfer window closed to make this decision speaks of panic for me.

    Also for me, there has been too much hatred and personal abuse in this saga. I still think the biggest problem at Villa is a financial one. You can’t blame Lambert for the awful showing under MacDonald, Houllier, McAllister, and then McLeish. Something is deeply wrong at Villa – we have a vaunted academy that seems to only produce players fit for League 1. We have no philosophy or over-arching pattern of play.

    A highly respected figure among the scouts at Villa once told me this story. He took a promising under ten kid to Villa. The kid he felt was a natural – strong, quick, and with an instinctive eye for goal. The junior coaches at Villa brought the kid on for a second half – when Villa were 2 – 0 down. The kid scored five goals. Villa won 7 – 3. So what do you think? asked my friend. He just wants to shoot all the time they said. He doesn’t want to pass. He doesn’t understand how to bring those around him into the game. Bring him back when he can see a pass.

    My friend told me this tale in a hushed voice. His is an elderly man now – but his record in spotting talent is second to none. He said he felt that there was a sickness among modern coaches. A sickness that comes from the coach training and licensing system. Pass pass pass, he muttered. No bloody good if you can’t score.

    I mention it now because he told me this tale over a year ago. That young prospect is now with a rival club, and is apparently happily banging them in. I’m not saying my pal was right and they were wrong – I am illustrating the differing mindsets – old school and new school.

    For me the problems at Villa go deep – way back from the first team – even back beyond the Academy – Villa have become staffed with clean shaven well qualified football professionals at every level. Qualified but uninspiring. Uninspiring and without a vision of their own, yet still doing the job. In a word, professional.

    This malaise will outlast Lambert. It may even outlast the next incumbent. Lambert’s sacking may have been the right call, I just wish if it had to be done it had been done sooner.

    Lambert may not have worked out well at Villa, but he was never less than respectful of our once great club, and I believe he was genuine in that. The way he has been referred to is shameful. No one sets out to fail. Let’s remember that as we bring in the new messiah.

    UTV

  4. Well the Marshells have a ‘free hit’ on Sunday as Lamberts sacking will galvanise the fans, and hopefully the knock-on effect will lift the players.
    The Gloria Leicester Fans will be 6,500 strong on Sunday so it’s important that all the recent Lambert stay-aways return to help drown out the away following and sing loud and manergerless proud to get us over the line.
    It will be very interesting to see the starting line-up which which in all circumstances should be Cleverly free!

LEAVE A REPLY