The last of the “bloody hell” run of fixtures is out of the way, and Liverpool game aside it hasn’t gone well. After another poor display with few chances made and no goals scored, what can Villa fans take away from the game at Goodison, the choice of players used and the treatment of a former Villa favourite?

THE GRUDGE

Villa fans certainly hold a grudge. Former Villa captain Gareth Barry made 441 appearances in a Villa shirt and scored 52 goals but that was put to one side as he was booed sporadically throughout the game at Goodison Park.

The resentment stems back to 2008 and his wanting to leave the club for Liverpool where he could play alongside his good friend Steven Gerrard and compete in the Champions League. When his move was refused, then Villa manager Martin O’Neill stripped him of the captaincy, fined him and banned him from training. While the captaincy was eventually restored, the rift was too large to overcome and eventually Barry moved to Manchester City.

Despite writing a heartfelt open letter published in the Birmingham Mail thanking the Villa fans, his claims of wanting to leave to play on the highest stage in club football (City weren’t involved at that point) led to accusations he was just leaving for the money. More recently, if it’s true Villa were trying to re-sign him either on loan from Manchester City or at the end of his contract he further upset fans by choosing Everton over his former team.

There are certainly more disliked ex-Villa players in the club’s history, and even David Platt was booed by some when he came back with Arsenal after years in Italy. And God forbid any player with any connection to Birmingham City show up at Villa park and expect a warm welcome. But Villa fans won’t forget if they decide you’ve crossed them.

HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT THE BOMB SQUAD

Jack Grealish was recently rewarded for largely his potential with a new contract – yet couldn’t make the bench for the trip to Everton. Instead, former bomb-squadder Charles N’Zogbia was given another chance to impress… and the consensus among fans seems to be that he did not.

N’Zogbia was subbed after an hour after making very little impression and was included in a list of players Paul Lambert blamed as potential goal-scorers who weren’t doing their job. It was an unusually scathing post-match rant from Lambert who typically blames bad luck, highlights the positives, and wants to move on.

“We got what we deserved” he said. “I don’t think we did enough to win the game… We had to be better… we weren’t at it… It’s probably the first game since the start of the season where we have come away thinking we have never really turned up to a game and justified ourselves” before more predictably: “You try to win the next game… There’s a long way to go… you have to put that to bed…”

Back to Grealish. It seems like getting what is essentially a promotion, a rise and the backing of your boss means you have to start working harder. Lambert was quoted as saying: “It’s time for [Grealish] to knuckle down and force his way in.” Which means he has to work harder than… N’Zogbia? A player hardly renowned for his work ethic, and since he signed for Villa as a cut-price replacement for Ashley Young, a player barely renowned for anything (except that free kick against West Ham).

It was reported that Gabby’s booking for a foul on Baines in the Everton game was meant as a demonstration to N’Zogbia of what was expected of him.

Motivation comes from many things, and Villa fans will be hoping Grealish can learn from Lambert’s challenge to replace the Frenchman in the starting XI. A cynic might think N’Zogbia is being put in the shop window rather than left unexposed in the stiffs after some up-and-down performances of late, albeit in the midst of a very tough run of fixtures.

It should also be noted that Grealish was instrumental during the 3-0 win in the “Benteke comeback game” in the U-21’s against Bolton. More to follow on that game next…

 

 

THE RE-ANIMATED

Christian Benteke played an hour of a reserve game, scored a goal, and was deemed ready for 30 minutes of action against Manchester City. Jores Okore also played in that same reserves game against Bolton, but played the full 90 minutes. He also played the full 90 minutes of a U-21 international of great importance for Denmark against Iceland. Yet neither he nor Grealish were considered worth a gamble against Everton. Even Joe Cole, who played in that same U-21 game against Bolton made a cameo appearance against Everton this weekend.

And yet when Nathan Baker went down injured, the call the bench was made and on came… Ciaran Clark. “[Okore] has played U21 football but I’m not quite sure he’s ready to go into this environment just yet,” said Lambert.

Okore has yet to play a single minute this season and has only made the match day squad twice. While the rumours persist about Vlaar leaving, Senderos crocked for a while longer and Baker out with a hamstring injury, perhaps Okore will have to wait until it’s an absolute necessity to make it into the starting team, while watching Cole and Benteke are considered fit enough and ready for action after arguably less rehabilitation than the young Dane. Okore and Villa fans have learned the hard way: the manager picks the team. End of.

SIN CITY

“I am not walking away. No chance. No chance. This is a big club. I love working for it. I’m proud to be the manager.”

A hard lesson to learn for ex-BCFC manager Lee Clark.

UTV

 

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8 COMMENTS

  1. More evidence of simply the worst manager we have ever witnessed. Okore is suddenly deemed to benot ready to play at this level. Strange then that last season he acquitted himself well against Chelsea, for 60 mins, Liverpool and Newcastle before being injured. He was brilliant against Chelsea for his former club in the Champions League a couple of years ago. Jores is reported to have signed for Villa above Chelsea et al because he wanted to play to gain experience so he will be well chuffed to be left on the bench. Great motivation Lambert yet again #worst
    villamanagerever

    • ah another conspirator theorists without a clue! Okore certainly did perform well against Chelski but that was before he suffered a MAJOR injury from which he has yet to return to full fitness and contary to popular misconception surgery does not create miracle cure to what were once career ending injuries

  2. Interesting that you should talk of having the bottle to go with your convictions whilest it’s easy to to be a gutless wonder sitting back and criticising ones betters and not considering what as Daveyb says can be produced by the toss of the dice . And like it or not it is Lerners money that may well need to be spent come the January window . But whether it was the thought of spending on the club or the teams poor performance that brought a look of despair to his face I doubt we’ll never know . However the team that finished the match looked far more solid than when it leaked the 3 goals so perhaps there is hope for the rest of the season if we can find more goals

    • Still pointing your grubby fionger at your betters Terry ? It certainly seems that way, but then I doubt your brain does not extend to comprehending that when a club is in debt that the debts have to be paid if it is not to go under . As for facing you, that evidentally just about sums you and your attitude up , as you know nothing about me !

      • But of course a finacialgenius which you clearly are not would understand that there are risks when one gambles on buying success and all you get for your money is mediochrity . And that at some point you have to put the brakes on spending , clear the debts before trying again for success . As for the club being solvent under Doug yes it was but it was clearly going nowhere except downwards with out having money to spend . Something Doug understood and you clearly don’t , if all you can see is the TV money and not the investment monies that the club now has , instead of the shoe string budget of Dougs era
        As for your platground mentality of whose got the biggest toys I left that behind in the playground which you clearly did not . As you would be putting your money where your mouth is instead of bad mouthing Randy , or trying to play the tough guy to somebody you clearly do not know , So go pack up your toys and become the senior citizen you claim to be !

  3. Not liking the multiples of goals going in. Okore chose Villa to play more so he should be given a shot, Clarke seems to me not quite right. And why Left Backs at Villa start good and then slide? Also wonder what Delph’s injury is doing to the contract talks. Sanchez should now step up and I wish Nzog was playing for a contract, he’d be better.

    Need a win, a draw not quite good enough against QPR.

  4. sometimes the dice is thrown for you,,, form and injuries have thrown the said dice for clark, zoggy, agbong
    and cissokos dice is looking very throwable,,

    sometimes you just have to go for it, QPR are vunerable to pace,, its still early in the season and we have time to experiment,, so lets have a go and stop playing crap football

    we need to use gabbys pace, bentekes presence and get weinman back in the team

    he at least can get a goal,, and what has bacuna done wrong,,,, he gets goals too

    so mr lambert stop fannying about and show some balls,,

    and lets go for it,,

  5. I realise that many are over eager to see Okore & Grealish as regulars in the team but how many poor performances would it be before the regular moaners would be complaining , especially as Grealish already has his own merry band of haters . So perhaps Lambert is correct in his reluctance to push them into the team .
    Clark when he was captain of the U21’s was a decent defender , and perhaps could be again if he forgot some of the tactics that get him into refs notebooks so often , but perhaps we should wonder where he learnt such things as Baker who also came through the Villa youth ranks does not use them even if at times he makes rash challenges
    As for the likes of Cole well he’s got the experience and is not near the start of his career so probably is a safer risk

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