By Chris Kemps
Queens Park Rangers didn’t offer the change of fortunes Villa fans were hoping for, but teaching moments are everywhere. Lesson one: don’t talk to your wife if it can be misinterpreted.
Matthew Lowton didn’t have a great game against QPR. Further reinforcing the fact Alan Hutton was the best right back at the club all along.
Lowton struggled with his defending and couldn’t find a decent cross. At the final whistle, it seemed to many fans he can committed the cardinal sin of telling the away support to get back to Birmingham in a particularly vulgar way (according the social media right after the game). But PL along with Lowton’s wife Abi cleared up any confusion: he was just telling his wife to go home.
Lowton has a lot of work to do to reclaim his place (but less than Bacuna, it seems). This kind of mix-up is the last thing he needs to help his case or win back the supporters missing Alan Hutton already. But after such a frustrating performance, any kind of gesture to the Villa fans other than applause is going to be twisted, social-media inflated and bingo: our back-up right-back is telling the traveling support to meet him outside for a punch-up.
That said, cooler heads have prevailed and while that doesn’t forgive a pretty tepid performance, it doesn’t mean Lowton was obviously insulting the away fans. This wasn’t Alpay in front of the Holte End.
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED…
… Keep doing it anyway. And why not? The ink is barely dry on Paul Lambert’s new contract so his job is safe despite the run of five games without a point and new all-time Villa record of five defeats in a row without scoring a goal.
Lambert’s game plan was predictable last night – and so was the response afterwards. Once you get past the “we looked really threatening” and “we started really well” and even the “it was poor defending from us” and “we’ve got to be more clinical” comes the “They’ll come out of the traps on Sunday”, “We didn’t play particularly badly” , “I know we’ll be all right in that department” and the old favorite “We will regroup and go again on Sunday.”
What can we learn from this? He’s actually right! Villa were the better team, but QPR made the most of their chances. Rob Green had a blinder. It was poor defending. We do have to be more clinical. And there’s no way the team doesn’t come out and give 100% against Spurs.
But what isn’t he saying?
Where’s Grealish? Picking more carrots for the AVFC public relations office?
Okore is considered fit, but not ready, while Benteke is considered ready, but unfit? (“He might have to wait six or seven games before he’s really up to speed,” says Lambert).
N’Zogbia is frustrating, but listed in PL’s post-match comments once again as a player who can score and could offer a role as a genuine wide player ahead of Agbonlahor or Weimann – but can’t get on the field?
Why does he insist on the same tactics week-in, week-out, that have seen record lows over the last two-and-a-half seasons?
Villa’s last goal, and high point of the season so far, was 531 minutes ago. Last night Villa had more possession (65%) than their opponents for the first time in many, many games and they created a whopping (by recent standards) 15 shots and SIX shots on target. Is there nothing to be learned from that?
Carlos Sanchez is coming to terms with the English game, but feelings over him are still mixed. He certainly got stuck in… sometimes. And his passing was clean and accurate… sometimes.
And his defending… well, he has to take some of the blame for the first goal. But the one positive of Delph’s injury is that Sanchez has the opportunity to make his mark on the team.
As a big-money (£4.7m) signing at a time when Villa are more prone to snapping up out-of-contract veterans, if he doesn’t come good enough to either make it as a first team regular or prove good enough that we can at least get our money back on his when he’s sold, he’s going to be another transfer gamble that hasn’t paid off and Villa can’t afford too many more of those.