The Good, Bad and Ugly of the Week Lambert was Finally Sacked


Shifting the focus back onto the pitch, the horrific showing at the KC negated all of the positives to come from the Chelsea match and has left Villa in a desperate situation in the league. A key issue under Lambert was that there were far too many players being regularly picked who didn’t contribute anywhere near as much to the club’s cause as was required.

Prominent among these since his arrival has been Tom Cleverley. In the last GBU I wrote that I was still yet to see the point in him and I’m sorry to say that there has been nothing on offer to change this opinion.

The dropping of Carlos Sanchez for both matches was perhaps fair enough after a particularly poor showing at the Emirates last weekend, but at least on his good days the Colombian adds something to the Villa midfield. Cleverley is a passenger, a phantom in the centre of the pitch, and given the situation that they now find themselves in Villa simply cannot afford to be fielding players who let games pass them by.



Throughout recent weeks Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann as an attacking pair have continued to display about as much cutting edge as a rubber knife. Weimann’s display against Hull was perhaps the worst we have seen from him all season, which is an impressive feat given how little he has been contributing on a weekly basis.

On current form, if he was playing for the opposition in a Sunday League game he’d be the guy that nobody bothered marking. He is, however, a perfect example of a ‘confidence player’ – when he’s on a roll and believing in himself, he has the potential to be an important performer for the club, as he was during the club’s 2012/13 campaign.

Agbonlahor hasn’t been much better than the Austrian, and with Christian Benteke currently unrecognisable from the player we saw a couple of years ago it really is not surprising that Villa have struggled for goals so desperately. Having said that, failing to score against a defence made up of Ahmed Elmohamady, Paul McShane, Alex Bruce and Michael Dawson may perhaps have been a new low.



Chelsea’s goals at Villa Park at the weekend were shocking ones to concede, as if a side of their quality needed any help. Hazard’s opener was nicely taken but the defending by a normally impressive Alan Hutton was atrocious, letting the Belgian drift across him as he marked thin air. The winner was even worse, a calamitous shambles which resulted in Branislav Ivanovic (who must love playing Villa, with five goals in his last six starts against them) shanking the ball into the top corner.

As for Hull’s two goals, they would have been the worst that Villa had conceded in a while were it not for Chelsea’s double three days earlier. Ciaran Clark and Jores Okore, although impressive as a pairing on occasions in recent weeks, reminded us all of the potential issues of a lack of experience at the back.



The fact of the matter is that Villa were exceedingly lucky to still be outside of the relegation zone until Tuesday night’s defeat. The post-Hull table is a much more accurate reflection of what, whichever way you look at it, has been a season of despair and embarrassment since Villa took ten points from their opening four league games. Doesn’t that feel like years ago at the moment?

Since the win over Liverpool at Anfield on 13 September, Villa have won twice in 21 Premier League games, scoring eight times, and just the newly-promoted pairing of Burnley and Leicester now separate them from the bottom of the table. Things must improve now that the nadir that was Lambert’s time in charge is over, and they must improve quickly.

A home FA Cup tie against the Premier League’s bottom club Leicester City at the weekend is now a chance for a new era at Aston Villa to begin. If Villa can overcome the Foxes at home for the second time this season, whoever replaces Lambert will have the serious possibility of a trip to Wembley on the horizon. After that clash comes a run of crucial fixtures which are likely to determine whether Villa keep their place with the country’s big boys, or slip into the potential black hole that is the Championship.

Good luck new gaffer, whoever you are – we’re all counting on you.


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  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.


  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!

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