King Koeman vs Lame Lambert?

On the pitch

Monday’s showdown with Southampton looks set to be a mismatch – you’ve got the second-highest scorers (23 in 11) travelling to the league’s lowest scorers (5).

The Saints simply do not concede goals, either. They’ve shipped just five in their 11 games so far this season. Villa, meanwhile, couldn’t hit a barn door at the moment and lie bottom when it comes to creating chances (69); Swansea are 19th having created seven more.

The word toothless springs to mind and the club has become a shadow of what it once was.

Southampton are by far the superior of passers (5,513 compared to 3,845); then again I cannot remember the last time Lambert’s Lions went into a game expecting to tame the opposition with pass ‘n’ move football.

For all of their possession, Southampton (155) do like taking a pop on goal and have registered 54 more shots than Villa (101) in the same amount of games. Villa, unsurprisingly, lie bottom of the league when it comes to shots on goal. Who said Villa fans don’t deserve a whinge? Should we just sit back and ‘go again next week’ – watching the same old story unfold right before our eyes?

Anyway, that’s enough of the stats – I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at them.

 

 

Know your players

Aston Villa and Southampton are two sides travelling in totally the opposite direction.

Ex-Barcelona and Holland captain Ronald Koeman has re-galvanised The Saints since taking over in the summer. The 51-year-old has arguably achieved more in his first three months than Lambert has in his two years at Villa Park. Why? Just look at the calibre of players the Dutchman has brought in.

Yes, Koeman’s pumped £50-odd million in, using the income from the Lallana, Shaw et al sales but he went out and knew exactly what he was buying.

Star performers Dusan Tadic (£10.9m) and Graziano Pelle (£8m) arrived from FC Twente and Feyenoord respectively – two players Koeman has seen up close and personal during his three-year stint in Rotterdam.

Fraser Forster and Shane Long – who cost £22 million combined – have been solid Premier League acquisitions who will be there for the long haul.

Senegalese winger Saido Mane (£11.8m) came with an impressive goal record in Austria and the 22-year-old has continued his fine form this season.

There’s some serious sums of money there and the question is can Villa cope with the demands of the Premier League? The last similar outlay on a player was the £7 million spent on Libor Kozak, who has been out with a broken leg since January 2013.

In his two seasons boss Paul Lambert experimented with young and little-known players who came in for peanuts. They included the likes of Aleksander Tonev (£2.5m), Karim El Ahmadi (£2m), Joe Bennett (£2.75m), Leandro Bacuna (£3m) and Antonio Luna (£2m). You may as well have burned the £12.25 million there!

The experiment, as you’re more than aware of, failed dismally. Only the likes of Ron Vlaar, Christian Benteke, Ashley Westwood and Matt Lowton have been credible signings. But now even the latter two have been asked serious questions to whether they are adding much to the team.

As for this summer’s ‘tried and trusted’ policy, yes, Lambert knew what he was getting – a no-nonsense centre-half (Senderos), a left-back with pedigree (Cissokho) and an energetic midfielder-come-full-back (Richardson) – but they have severely struggled in terms of quality, especially against the top teams.

To date – or five transfer windows to be precise – I can only really applaud ONE solitary signing Lambert has made and that is our talisman Christian Benteke, who will be serving his second game of his three-match suspension on Monday night.

In terms of the game at Villa Park, you’ll see one team knowing exactly what their strengths are and another team still trying to work out what to do. I’ll leave you to work out which team is which…

 

 

Oh when the Saints go marching in

Since Southampton were promoted in 2012 Villa have, quite simply, been chasing shadows.

The last time the teams met was a goalless draw at Villa Park in April. The Saints enjoyed 68 per cent possession compared to Villa’s mere 32 per cent.

In Villa’s fine 3-2 win at St Mary’s, which included THAT Fabian Delph bullet, we recorded a laughable 23 per cent possession.

The Saints done the double over us in Lambert’s first season – a 4-1 trouncing at St Mary’s and a 1-0 Rickie Lambert penalty at Villa Park.

The last time we beat Southampton I was a youngster in the Trinity Road stand. I remember Carlton Cole, on debut, slotting home and diving into a rapturous Holte End in a 2-0 win at the start of the 2004/05 campaign.

 

Surprise, surprise

The Villa boys are priced at 15/4 to record their second home win of the season. Southampton are unsurprisingly odds-on at 3/4 to get their fifth win on the bounce.

So, what is in Villa’s favour? It’s been 10 weeks since we last banked three points. The solidarity shown at Upton Park and the high work rate against Tottenham does bode well, but it comes down to quality and that, I’m afraid, is something we’re severely lacking.

Mr Lambert: what do you have up your sleeve? Can you surprise us all and steer us away from yet another relegation-threatened season? It is well and truly up to you now – your fate is in your own hands.

Burnley, Palace, Leicester and West Brom are up next – if you can’t pick up points in those games then what hope do we have?

As always, UTV!

Follow Ashley on Twitter – @Ashley_Preece

Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid

SHARE
Previous articleGary Gardner’s Progress in Reclaiming his Aston Villa Future
Next articleWhat is Happening With Jores Okore and Jack Grealish?

10 COMMENTS

  1. Koeman is the manager we should have had, leading his team to where Villa should be in the league. No-one can seriously believe Lambert should stay given his dismal record. If Lerner still wants to sell up, surely it has occurred to him that AVFC will have more value, a bigger revenue stream and a more attractive asking price as a side in the Premiership than in the Championship? How is keeping a manager who has so clearly failed going to maximise Lerners return?

    Lambert should have been given the boot after the QPR game. Losing to such a poor side was completely unacceptable, as is the run of defeats which are relegation form. Tearing up the bizarre new contract and giving Lambert the axe then would have given the club the international break to appoint a new manager (while the media were focused on England and the travails of Roy Hodgson), re-group, and go into the Southampton game with some optimism in the team and the fans. Instead, we are just delaying the inevitable and if we don’t want to go down NOW is the time to take action. A appointment of a new manager in the next couple of weeks might give a sufficient breath of fresh air over the busy Christmas period to get us out of the hole we are in, while allowing some appraisal of the squad to make targeted improvements in the January transfer window.

    Yes it would cost, and cost considerably but relegation would cost much, much more in terms of revenue and goodwill. And if we do go down, could we really get up again in a season, or would we be rooted in that league like Nottingham Forest were following their relegation from the top flight?

    I hope we do win on Monday, but I would be amazed. Win, lose or draw Lambert must be relieved of his managerial duties by 9am on Tuesday morning. It is the only logical, sensible business decision. For Randy Lerner and Tom Fox, it is the biggest decision of their business careers.

    • And how wil changing the manager breathe fresh air into a squad crippled by injury after injury ? Because effectively any new manager would still be working with both hands tied behind his back due to players missing from key areas of the team
      Of course we all want Villa to win and it’s down to the manager whoever he might be to shuffle the pack to try and get a result but at least Lambert knows what the players can do whereas any new manager will have half a pack to shuffle & little real idea on what the outcome might be if he does so with the likelyhood of even more big defeats asa losing a manager the team is prepared to play for might just be the final straw for a team demoralised by all those defeats
      As for Lerner the look of dismay on his face at the last match he attended said a lot . But there’s little he & Fox can do to help Lambert get us out of the mess created by having too few funds to buy the players he really wanted , untill the January window opens

  2. I’ve gone from going to Villa park every game, to two or three times last season last season and none this season, I’ve gone from avidly following on-line to dreading Villa news and when my friends make the inevitable jokes all I can do is laugh… so sad. But we do have good players, a good club being managed by a man that you wouldn’t have working for the Samaritans so how can he inspire the team, club and media… sorry but this will end in tears for him.

    One idea is for him to go on holiday for a month and see if we play any better, Yeah.

  3. I think it will be another night woe, for Lambert on monday
    Even Doug Ellis must know it’s p45 time for Lambert.
    Make our day Doug , make the offer to Lerner

  4. What do you mean Lambert has achieved nothing.
    His recent losing streak and failure to score is a massive achievement even for a manager with his lack of qualities.
    And, he has managed (I use that word loosely) to make us a laughing stock, an achievement in itself.
    Seriously, he has achieved nothing, and will achieve nothing, he has his way and no other way except failure. UTV

  5. Evening all I’ve just got in from work so to help me wind down I’ve been reading some of the blogs and posts ……I feel so much more relaxed …………not.knowing that even you ash are starting to see what is no has been unfolding before your very eyes ,we are no longer a club in transition but a club that is falling apart at the seams ,I’m not a hater of lambert I’ve just ran out of patients .its not just this blog but others who are starting to turn against the man ,when you go through the stats you can see that we are a very poor outfit . We’ve gone back to the days of allowing under performing players and manager to get away with taking our club for a ride ,we may have one or two good players who but a shift in week in and week out but one or two just isn’t enough it has to be all of them at the same time with no one being carried we don’t play as a team and there doesn’t seem to be any togetherness that in itself is unacceptable

    Koeman is organised ,prepared , and has his team playing for each other the proof of his skills will come when his team hit a bad spell , so the answer to your question is a resounding yes ,lambert can’t string a decent set of results together with decent football played ,our player have lost the ability to shoot on goal can’t cross or pass to each other properly that’s down to him the caliber of player used and the coaching.

    We can’t wait for it to get better it’s gone on to long for him to redeem himself ,he doesn’t know how to make it better ……………..we are trapped between a rock and a hard place with no signs of it getting better

    • Yep, patience is running thin with Lambert. No progress has been made. His poor record just can’t be ignored for much longer. The club has no clear direction or aims. Only results will get him out of the s**t storm that is heading his way soon.

Comments are closed.