Simply Not Good Enough – Aston Villa Get Taught A Lesson From League Two

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What do you do when the middle of the park can’t hold the ball up? End up under pressure, time and time again. 3-1 against a League Two side? Really?

As much as Aston Villa have secured an away goal, just how much of a small compensation is that when you are playing a team that is not in the league below you, or in the league below that, but the league below that.

The youth experiment is something that is a great plan for Villa’s long term plans but, in the midst of all this long term planning, the short term appears to be in tatters, and the confidence of youngsters will get shredded time and time again if they have no experience to keep their heads up.

The way things are going, Villa face a nervous January with the need for reinforcements – both in numbers and experience terms – but they need additions to the squad. Without it, the team is simply not good enough.

After such a result, many will force the blame on to the manager, but this has to be seen as the result of a long time set of issues at the club. Villa haven’t been in decline for three months, but three seasons. The result of a team shorn of their best players, replaced on the cheap because of gambles made in years goneby has taken its toll.

I said earlier this week that luck was one of the factors keeping the club afloat. In recent times, the luck has turned from weathering the storm in Anfield to being hammered by three teams in a row. The major question now is how a team arrests such a slump apart from the obvious replacement of players in the January window. Will it be enough though?

That is the question that will face the club as Villa’s life support machine seems to be getting erratic. Is it the end? No, by no means, but things must change as, with the ways things stand currently, Villa’s heads look collectively down.

We need to get a result Saturday and turn the tables, and have to hope we can pull something out the bag on the 22nd. Whilst there is time to rally the fans and focus on the positives, this result was simply not good enough, and many players must hold their heads in shame – the manager will have his work cut out to save the club from slumping into the depths that many thought were impossible.

What comes next illustrates whether those heads will stay down or come up as Villa’s hour of need approaches.

About the Author

Avatar of Matt Turvey

Matt TurveyMatt is the owner of, and chief writer for, Aston Villa Life. He is also a weekly columnist for the Wolverhampton Express & Star, appearing in the 247 pullout the Monday after Aston Villa play, and every Thursday as a blogger on their website. He has previously been featured as a writer on Football365 and Life's A Pitch, and was a regular pundit for Sports Tonight TV on Sky.View all posts by Matt Turvey →

  1. FremFrem08-01-2013

    wouldn’t be surprised if he gets sacked or walks. hes bought more shame and embarrassment to villa than houllier or AM ever did. a loss against southampton and its all over.

    he should have strengthened but wouldn’t surprise me if there isn’t any money or he had the saints game to save his ass so why back someone who could be gone ??

    the interview will be i cant fault the players effort, i have to pick them up and we go again.

  2. J.P. WilsonJ.P. Wilson08-01-2013

    so bad, id love to see what a practice is like at villa park, kicking the ball 40 yards and winning it with our head? thats it? thats all we can even try to do!?

    so f**king shocking, ive been keeping the faith, even after 8-0 to chelsea, but this is just absolute s**t!

    go get 4 or 5 new players. quality from germany, spain, italy, or netherlands, no more f**king s**t from england or the prem league!

  3. Graham O'GaraGraham O'Gara08-01-2013

    Too many Negatives to talk about… I’d be here all night, and I wanna go to bed…

    Three positives to take from the match… This should hurt those Villa players more anything, Bradford for the first time have something to lose and will feel pressure and we have another 90minutes so score 2 more goals than them…

    That’s the only positive… Bannan should now be just no player… worse hoofer than Collins.

    Need to get is a strong, physical DM who can play the ball simple and break down these attacks through the middle… AND GET VLAAR BACK!!!!

    Even when we went behind I felt we’d come back and win… ashamed is not tough harsh a word at the minute…

  4. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013

    Well suffice to say we need something to pull players out the bag because too many players tonight were just not good enough on any level.

    Bannan, Delph, Clark… need I go on?

  5. FremFrem08-01-2013

    bennet was at fault for all 3 goals. he should never play for us again

  6. NicoNico08-01-2013

    Bannan and Delph are the worst central pairing I have ever seen at Villa. Defence too slow to react, N’Zogbia played like a greedy schoolkid.

    No leaders on the pitch. No passion, gutless!!

    Last one to leave please turn the light out, because we are going down.

  7. NicoNico08-01-2013

    Frem – no he wasn’t, watch them back.

  8. J.P. WilsonJ.P. Wilson08-01-2013

    bennett was the worse player on the field, couldnt mark his man on the second goal, and lost almost every 1v1 situations.

    the worse part, is that PL didnt sub him.

  9. SuperBoxSuperBox08-01-2013

    The first 20 mins of the second half was Aston Villa v Matt Duke. Finishing was awful. The rest of it looked very fragile, especially at the back.

    Bennet looked out of his depth, Lowton was poor. Clark spent more time wrestling instead of marking. Bannan played too many Holywood balls, Delph made it all look like hard work.

    On the plus side CNZ actually looked up for it, Benteke worked hard (should have scored a hatful though) and Wiemann took his goal well.

    PL has a hell of a job on his hands. Employing a defensive coach might be an idea.

  10. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013

    The thing people must realise though is that the squad is poor – the reason we are playing pairings like Delph and Bannan is because the other options aren’t any better.

    Westwood out, KEA at the ACN etc. If Lambert wanted an argument to go buy a midfielder – an imposing one at whatever price – this is it.

    We may well be arguing about the cost of that player (even though I don’t think Lambert will get another millstone of wages like Bent), but we need it.

    Short answer – don’t focus on the long term when your short term is in the toilet.

  11. NicoNico08-01-2013

    1st goal was just one of those things, Bannan was slow to get out and the deflection went their way.

    2nd goal Baker allowed their player to run past him to get to the ball, then Baker moved out of position towards the ball.

    Bennett wasn’t good, but there were others just as bad.

  12. FremFrem08-01-2013

    we should still be able to go through but still tonight was an absolute embarrassment. if we cant beat bradford 2 or 3 nothing at VP then we are even worse than i thought

    we better have new players in by the second leg.

    sell DB, bennet, in fact the list is endless

    CB, two CM’s, LB, winger and striker but its worrying we haven’t already done anything

  13. NicoNico08-01-2013

    What too many just don’t get though, is that if our midfield kept the ball the defence aren’t permanently out of position.

    Agree Matt, but we’ve been crying out for a midfielder who can dominate, pass, tackle and yell at the rest for ages.

  14. FremFrem08-01-2013

    nico- bennet gave both corners away that they scored from and didn’t mark his man

    PL in his interview again just doesn’t seem to care

  15. J.P. WilsonJ.P. Wilson08-01-2013

    gosh i wanna see PL’s Post match interview, can someone link me it

  16. IanIan08-01-2013

    The question is now not “Who we can get in?”…. It’s more “Who the hell would want to join AVFC?”

  17. Andrew PAndrew P08-01-2013

    Absolutely shocking performance. Can’t defend, can’t create and can’t finish against a Div 2 team. The answer is …I haven’t got a clue but it’s not Bannan and Delph in centre midfield.

  18. SuperBoxSuperBox08-01-2013

    Frem – That isn’t because PL doesn’t care, that is thinly veiled anger. He can’t say what’s on his mind.

  19. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013


    That is the exact problem – if we just had someone stopping the pressure in the middle, the defence would be being hammered all the time.

    Jason just text me asking what had happened – I said our issue is like having a leak in the roof as water is dripping through and piling pressure on the ceiling till it eventually takes the whole thing out and the next floor.

    Solve Villa’s midfield and you fix many problems. It isn’t a panacea to fix everything but anyone who has managed a team will know the importance of keeping control in the middle (whether you play four or five) and, at present, we have absolutely no way of stemming the flow.

    Defensive midfielder the priority.

  20. SuperBoxSuperBox08-01-2013

    AndrewP – We created loads, especially in the second half – just couldn’t finish them.

  21. Andrew PAndrew P08-01-2013

    And why did I come up here on the coach rather than drive? We’re still in the car park outside the ground.

  22. NicoNico08-01-2013

    Frem – we cannot stop giving away a corner, we just need to learn how to defend one. I agree Bennett had problems tonight, but to blame him entirely is a bit OTT.

    How many simple passes did Bannan play? Hardly any! Every ball is an attempt to do something special, none came off. Delph was a passenger. N’Zogbia tried to run and shoot every time he got the ball.

  23. GrayGhostGrayGhost08-01-2013

    Chelsea hurt, badly. Tottenham made things worse. Wigan brought despair and anger. This…..the worst blow yet. This is like an NFL team losing to an average college team. Maybe worse. I root for PL, and feel is the right man for the job, but his plan is not working and I believe he gets sacked if we can’t scrape a point from Southampton

  24. FremFrem08-01-2013

    we went all out guns blazing which is fair enough but its no good when you have two s**te CM’s trying to mop us. two solid CM’s fair enough but not BB and delph

    we must have players in for southampton…wont we ??

  25. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013


    It is frustrating, obviously, but I don’t think there is some better solution out there than Lambert.

    We hound managers out but how much of our demise has been this season, and how much long term.

    Getting rid of Lambert solves nothing – finding a group of experienced players will do a lot to help.

  26. steamersteamer08-01-2013

    We have so many players who shouldn’t be allowed to wear the claret and blue, its unbelievable, how did it get this bad ? If PL is playing Bennett to justify his signing then its a decision that will get him the sack, you can’t have weak FB’s, i may be old fashioned but i prefer FB’s who can defend, not stand on the half way line watching his winger destroy the team.

  27. Andrew PAndrew P08-01-2013

    SuperBox we did create chances but it was hoof and hope against a league 2 side. Obviously not seen any replays but my impression is we struggled to string 2 passes together all game.

  28. steamersteamer08-01-2013

    Agree Matt, but its up to him now, everyone can see it, can he ? if he can’t will we face the another farce with OGS ? it really is a bombsite at VP.

  29. AndrewAndrew08-01-2013

    How many times are we going to talk about needing a midfield? Nzog was a complete disgrace for me #selfish

  30. FremFrem08-01-2013

    have people yet come to the realisation about gabby ??

    its insulting the gabby played up top and AW out wide taking there scoring records into account

  31. IanIan08-01-2013

    Frem – I seriously doubt we will h e players in, signed and ready to play against Saints… #worried

  32. The DroydThe Droyd08-01-2013

    Normally I would defend Clark and Bennett but tonight they were total dross. I think they need to be taken out of the firing line. This sort of confidence battering does not develop young players.

  33. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013


    If PL is ejected, no manager worth his salt will want to come to the club – it is a bloody mess.

    The only people we would attract are past failures or the unproven, and I can’t see many of them doing any better.

  34. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013


    Gab was out wide as well as Andi – was only Benteke up front.

  35. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013

    Out there idea…

    Who would accept Warnock back but in midfield to replace one of Bannan or Delph?

    Not ideal long term but he has more of a head for the game than either and he did well in CM for Blackburn…

  36. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013

    Oh and from what I am hearing now, Lambert was very angry with the lads after that.

    What matters more is how we move forwards though – is collapsing under pressure fixed by more anger and pressure? Not in my opinion.

  37. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013

    Though I am not criticising the manager for being angry – he would be wrong to just be OK with that performance.

  38. RichardSRichardS08-01-2013

    I really don’t understand all of this support for Lambert – his record at Villa is appalling and I don’t trust him to bring in the experience that we need to keep us in the premier league. It was so obvious that we needed to strengthen the midfield at the start of the season with quality players and he gambled. It has gone badly wrong and he now looks clueless.

  39. Andrew PAndrew P08-01-2013

    Matt, on the basis that plan A isn’t working and he couldn’t do any worse, I’d give it a go. Can you get it sorted for the weekend please because I can’t face another non-performance from Pinky and Perky.

  40. FremFrem08-01-2013

    Do you think we will have players in for the second leg ??

    matt- in the second half gabby went up top and he kept AW out wide. very poor from lambert

    how many more humiliating defeats ( battering ) will people stand for ?? chelsea, spurs, wigan and now bradford, there is no improvement and no new players

  41. RichardSRichardS08-01-2013


    I’ve heard that Pepe Guardiola is looking for a job

  42. The DroydThe Droyd08-01-2013

    Stevens should come in for Bennett. Not that I rate Stevens in the slightest but at least he has some defensive capabilities.

    I don’t rate Lowton but at least he is solid. Southampton is such a big match that we need to sign a centre back immediately.

    Wee Barry Bannan. Dear oh dear. Get him gone!

    N’Zogbia looks a threat but is producing nothing.

    I know we missed chances but we are actually OK up front.

    We are a total shambles but I don’t think sacking the manager is the right thing to do. The same s**t nucleus of a squad will remain.

    Randy Lerner – Pay whatever it takes to get Lescott and while you are at it get Milner back. Pay them handsomely and get them here.

  43. The DroydThe Droyd08-01-2013

    Matt – Warnock is nowhere near good enough but yes I’d take him over Bannan.

  44. AndrewAndrew08-01-2013

    The recent thrashings we have had to endure and now tonight……id like to think im a patient man but im starting to loose the faith.

    I hope lambert is more passionate in the dressing room than during interviews.

  45. Andrew PAndrew P08-01-2013

    Ok Richard S but replace him with who? I still think he’ll get it right but the time for excuses from me and others has stopped. Too many players should have run out of chances now and it’s up to Lambert to find a system and a team which wil start putting some pride back into our football club.

  46. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013

    Andrew P,

    I wish I was that able to exert my influence – sadly the information passing doesn’t go as far as me making team suggestions :)

  47. FremFrem08-01-2013

    i think we need another benteke because if he gets injured we are f**ked.

    we should still be able to beat bradford by a fair few, especially with new players but tonight was just horrible. so so so many players need to go

  48. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013


    I dare say he is looking for one, but that is akin to saying Rihanna is looking for a boyfriend – what relevance does the statement have?

  49. FremFrem08-01-2013

    and after tonight i think lambert would have lost all faith in the youngsters at villa. we need experience

  50. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013

    I would have Enda on the left too Droyd to be fair.

  51. AndrewAndrew08-01-2013

    Love a duck, we know we are in trouble when we’re talking about bringing back warnock…..

  52. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013

    Oh and Charlie wanting to keep putting it on his left foot was pointless and predictable – he should have passed several times but wanted the glory.

  53. Ian GibsonIan Gibson08-01-2013

    Glad I went out for lunch with an old friend. The tone on AVL has changed. Anger is setting in. I surely hope an arrival or two appear shortly. However, I will cheer myself up by replaying Balotelli trying to dress himself.

  54. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013


    At least he has experience. However, I am not sure the bridges are able to be rebuilt with him to consider it.

    Warnock isn’t a great left back but, in the middle, he is a lot better than Bannan for me.

  55. toxytagtoxytag08-01-2013

    How can people call for Lamberts head that just stupid!! Look at what our last few managers did! No better then what he’s doing at least he’s got some kind of a plan! A club can’t sell it best players and improve its not the managers fault it’s our lack of money to buy replacements so everyone calm down these results were always going to happen

  56. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013

    Agree with what Toxytag is saying and also welcome back, sir.

  57. FremFrem08-01-2013

    i honestly dont know weather lambert does get angry. i said after chelsea he didn’t seem to care, then we get battered by spurs and again didn’t seem bothered and battered by wigan and again didn’t seem bothered.

    players obviously aren’t scared of lambert. is he losing the dressing room

  58. Jason ChalifourJason Chalifour08-01-2013

    I agree with your last point. Weimann is out POY so far and it’s not close for me. Benteke has had his moments for sure, but Weimann has been far more consistent.

    Following the match on twitter and seeing the team to hear your analysis was no suprise. This team misses Stiliyan Petrov badly and has not replaced him. KEA hasn’t adjusted to the pace of the EPL. As so as Vlaar or Dunne is fit I’d pair them with Baker and move Clark to midfield failing any other acquisition. I won’t beat the Michael Bradley dead horse. I’ve done it ad nosium and it will just make me more angry.

    Joe Bennett was so bad and had been I don’t think he can ever play for the club again. Enda Stevens is clearly the best LB we have.

    Not that it would mean anything, but I’d feel better if the manager ripped the team in the media for once. This isn’t the time for “we have to push on,” or worrying about hurting feelings.

    Getting rid of the manager will solve nothing, but let me ask you this: If you woke up tomorrow, checked your paper or the Internet, and saw he was sacked, would you be bothered? I mean it’s not totally unreasonable at this point.

  59. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman08-01-2013

    We’ve had a s**t 3 years – FACT
    The 100m net spend Lerner made available has been wasted – FACT
    There isn’t another 100m to invest – FACT
    We have lots of high earning and under performing players on long contracts – FACT
    We are being severed up some embarrassing football and results – FACT

    These are all facts and its heart breaking, we are in a s**t situation. It’s f**king depressing and not good enough.

    The blame for the situation we are in and state of our players doesn’t lie with Lmabert – FACT
    We won’t be able to replace lambert with anyone better – FACT
    The only viable transfer route for us is getting Vlaars, Benteke’s, Westwoods, and Lowtons. We don’t have the cash to repat MON history – FACT

    To not acknowledge the 2nd set of facts is to be fickle and short sighted. Don’t turn anger on Lambert

  60. RichardSRichardS08-01-2013

    Matt – i was trying to bring a bit of humour to the situation, Aston Villa are a complete joke so we should all appreciate the funny side. I have become strangely addicted to watching Aston Villa of late, you are guaranteed to see plenty of goals.

  61. Ian GibsonIan Gibson08-01-2013

    Things are bad, no question. But is there some kind of mutiny going on? That shouldn’t have happened to a league two team on poor form.

  62. B62 VillaB62 Villa08-01-2013

    Well iv tried to calm down but I can’t even the Telegraph is hammering us!
    Villa have to get so much better than this, otherwise not only will they not win the second leg, but Paul Lambert’s going to lose his job. …it’s not as if Villa are playing all right and losing, like Reading, or playing badly and losing narrowly, like QPR. They’re playing atrociously and getting humped week after week after a week. By Chelsea. By Tottenham. By Wigan. And now by Bradford. Alex McLeish’s legacy is being embellished by the week.”
    We are on the edge of a precipice , will sacking Lambert assist or derail us further, will keeping him prove foolish and end up in relegation, I honestly don’t know, all I know is I have no faith in this manager or these players to get us out of the s**t they have put us in.
    From day 1 we have been poor and bar the odd glimpse/fluke we haveng improved and continually make the same mistakes , out of a squad of around 25 we have possibly 4/5 that are of the required standard, the rest are not very good and don’t even put a shift in to make up for their defincies. This is the lowest iv ever felt about this footba club, and I’m wondering if its worth it, all the money and heart ache for no reward. I don’t even enjoy going anymore its a habit and I go out of loyalty and for a few beers, I’m not going Saturday as it stands( although if the wife gives me some DIY to do I just might). This football club is a joke and like or not Lambert has failed at every turn do far this season, his players aren’t good enough and he’s wasted the main window and is sat with his thumbup his arse in this one, when he should be trying to rectify his mistakes. This season completely overshadows last, we’ve been humped by every man and his dog. We have no midfield and no defence and set ip the team for a fall every game. Lambert looks lost and out of his league.
    This club has No future and are in a tailspin towards the lower leagues .

  63. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman08-01-2013

    Richard, its laugh or cry mate! I’d rather laugh and cling to hope like it’s a life raft.

  64. aaronsagaraaronsagar08-01-2013

    Keep Lambert. In his interviews he is coming across like he doesn’t care. However unlike McLeish he is not putting blame on the young players (ok maybe co they’re his signings).

    Southampton will best us 0-2. Genuinely think we will go down unfortunately. Lowton poor, Bennett league 1 standard, Clarke being out under too much pressure, formation leaving midfield exposed……..arghhh….it’s all in this blog an comments….up the villa boys….proud history, clueless present, worrying future!

  65. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013


    My apologies for missing the joke :)

  66. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013

    He isn’t losing the dressing room, no Frem, and, take it from me, the Lambert we see on telly & the one in the dressing room is a whole different person.

  67. @RonnieBiggs@RonnieBiggs08-01-2013

    QPR for me was when I realized we were in real trouble. We went to the bottom club with no wins and few goals scored and played McLeish style ‘play for the draw’ when PL said repeatedly that we would ‘have a go!’ this season. We were horrible that day and should have lost and besides one blip when Liverpool missed chances early then Benteke scored from 30 yards and our best player this season Andi W did his thing but since then the real Villa has emerged and we all know how the story has gone. This is simple… we need better players and we need them now! UTV!

  68. FremFrem08-01-2013

    “8,4,3,2,1,3 – says it all about Villa”
    spot on

    hutton and warnock are available. should they be given a go on saturday

  69. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013


    I know Eck used to read AVL – don’t know if PL did, though many at the club do.

  70. AndrewAndrew08-01-2013

    Im trying to go on a diet, villa = me depressed = me eating a whole pack of dark chocolate digestives.

  71. FremFrem08-01-2013

    the most worrying thing for me is the fact we haven’t already signed anyone, not even an official bid, not a word from PL about bringing in players. its not like we are mid table

  72. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman08-01-2013

    The human mind up-weights negative inputs and responses like fear, anger, and anxiety over rational or positive ones. It does this because having bite, sticking it some bird, or learning a new trick aren’t as immediate as our response to danger needs to be. That means the natural response is to panic, claim we’re doomed and that we need to sack our manager.

    My point being, it’s s**t and everyone accepts it’s s**t. What matter’s now is that we don’t have our negative emotions dictate our response. In short we need to some how get behind them and laugh off the dire situation we find ourselves in otherwise we’re just adding to the problems.

  73. Ian GibsonIan Gibson08-01-2013

    What’s wrong with dark chocolate digestives? dipped in tea no doubt.
    Have we hit bottom yet? Hitting bottom is BCFC. Let’s face it life would be a lot easier with a Manchester address but a lot more boring. :-)

  74. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013


    Spoken like a true fellow person with a background in psychology (or positive thinking at least)


    If we want bargains, we can’t publicise our deals. If we do, the price goes up and, when working on our parameters, that is far from what we can afford to do.

  75. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013


    And a lot more gun crime…

  76. John ClarkJohn Clark08-01-2013

    I very much like digestives, dark or milk chocolate.

  77. SuperBoxSuperBox08-01-2013

    Frem – I think you are missing the point of who PL is and how he works. He doesn’t court the media, he doesn’t slag off the players, he is quiet, considered and thoughtful. He doesn’t do his dirty washing in public like Redknapp or Dave Whelan. He is portectign the players, just like Mourinho does. What happens in private and public will be two differnent things.

    What is he expected to say in an interview? After the Chelsea game he said words to the effect of “we were second best in every department for 90 minutes”. That sums it up for me.

    He can’t come out and say “That was a total nightmare, we were s**te, i am going to have to buy a load of players. Jesus it was embarrassing”.

    PL has to appear calm in public, otherwise the press will have a field day.

  78. B62 VillaB62 Villa08-01-2013

    Everton, Saints, Man city, Manutd, Chelsea, Spurs, Wigan, Bradford have all given us real footballing lessons, and were we’re poor against West Ham, Norwich, Reading, West Brom and QPR. That is a big list of teams that were better than us in the games we played against them. We haven’t dominated one team ( possibly Norwich in the cup). Yes we have sold the Crown Jewels but I don’t agree that these results were bound to happen of the manner of the many defeats. Since selling the Crown Jewels we have spent a fair amount on absolute cr*p. I have no doubts we will be relegated this year, as jan doesn’t look like saving us, and these players simply aren’t good enough, and quite frankly Lambert needs to do a lot more because he has been nothing short of a disaster so far , if Mcleish had got the same results with these players he would have been strung up. I don’t think Lambert actually has a plan, and he definately doesn’t have a back up.
    Jason to answer your question , I wouldn’t be suprised or bothered if I woke to find he had gone.

  79. Graham O'GaraGraham O'Gara08-01-2013

    Can’t so annoyed… Looked on twitter and the fans are doing them selves no favours.

    Abuse toward Baker, Bennett, Grealish, Bannan, Weimann and Gabby has been horrendous.

    I feel sorry for our defence… no they didn’t have a great game… but its hard to retain postion when you are constantly being attacked through the middle… they have zero cover even though bannan and Delph barely cross the line… they are drogged out of position too easily, people go past them too easily and then they either give up or give away a silly free kick….

    Bradford have something to lose now, the first time in the cup… the pressure is on them to defend their lead… the game is at Villa Park.. we have two weeks to recover, regroup and make some signings…

    If Warnocks is willing to put a shift in and not cause trouble then yes… to me it’s about what the player is prepared to to on the pitch for his team… if he performs he deserves a chance… Ireland got welcomed back because of 15 minutes here and there and a few nice words written by the PR department so why not Warnock… not the long tern solution but just might be the right square peg to hammer in to the round hole… not ideal but certainly can’t get anyworse…

    its bigger than anyone one person, Lambert has to see that, if a player is willing to pull his weight, and will improve the team he has to be picked… thats the ethos he came with now he must stick to it…

  80. SuperBoxSuperBox08-01-2013

    Well one positive. If we get thorugh this season wuthout goping down, those players will have learnt a hell of a lot and have some experience.

    *sounds of barrel bottom being scraped*

  81. FremFrem08-01-2013

    what have Grealish or AW done wrong to deserve abuse ??

  82. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman08-01-2013

    Proper geek for the subject Matt. Social psychology, behavioural economics, game theory, etc… when you boil it down we’re just bright hairless chimps at a tea party throwing s**t and trying to bump uglies

  83. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013

    I prefer Hob Nobs John.

  84. Ian GibsonIan Gibson08-01-2013

    milk chocolate? That’s a bit weak isn’t it?
    I too prefer Lambert’s approach to the media. The less you give those rodents the better. Also very little leaks out of the dressing room. I retract my mutiny thought. I am sure the players are frustrated too. Most of the media and rumours are conjecture.

  85. B62 VillaB62 Villa08-01-2013

    Dark chocolate is wrong. Milk chocolate digestives every time.
    Ian your right mate it must be well boring watching your time win most if their games, winning trophies , going to cup finals and travelling all over Europe having a laugh ;) yeah give me losing every week in a half empty stadium and being the butt of all the local and national medias jokes, let the good times roll :)

  86. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013

    Spot on Gav.

    I did a Masters in it for my sins (psychology that is, not got a past in porn)

  87. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman08-01-2013

    I’d start with Warnock, he was never as bad as many thought. Not hutton, never again!

    If Depth and Bilbo start on Saturday we can expect more of the same. KEA and Ireland if Westwood isn’t fit.

  88. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013

    KEA is unavailable still isn’t he due to ACN?

  89. FremFrem08-01-2013

    do we only have to win 2-0 at VP against bradford to go through ?? or extra time ??

  90. Johnie MJohnie M08-01-2013

    Agree Lambert will stay, even if we go down – who else is there ( de Matteo ? ) & he brought a team like Norwich up 2 divisions on a budget. Lerner is not gonna spend so we’re not a big team anymore – and he is the right manager for that policy – long term

    My problem with him is short term – he has to be more practical in how he drills & sets up his teams & lose his stubborn streak for playing open when you haven’t got a f**king midfield or defence to cope with that way of playing, especially away from home!

    Tonight we should have scored at least 4 & WILL overturn the result in the 2nd leg but our EPL status now worries me because we looked whipped pups by the end – not a
    good sign – he’s got to pick them up for Soton on Sat – 6 pointer if ever there was one !

    Experience is another thing he’s not keen on but if he doesn’t get some in now we’ll go down & blot his CV – easy choice – I sincerely hope he’s not too stubborn to make it

  91. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman08-01-2013

    In my experience its quite a rare for a journo to have an alternative background, did you go back and also get your journalism qualifications or get into through writing features?

  92. KennyBKennyB08-01-2013

    Great manager, great chairman, great chief exec, great pile of something on the pitch!

  93. FremFrem08-01-2013

    gav- we only have BB and delph to chose from in CM on saturday

    when will carruthers ever get a game ?? id like to see burke and carruthers on the flanks

  94. Ian GibsonIan Gibson08-01-2013

    hahahaha. I was somewhat toungue in cheek.

  95. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman08-01-2013

    Johnie, couldn’t agree more. I’m not sure what they’re doing on the training pitch but whatever it is it’s not being delivered in on the field. Yet another massive wake up call.

    Just because i’m calling for calm and perspective, doesn’t mean i don’t think Lambert isn’t very much at fault and needs to take much of the blame.

  96. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013

    My background is actually a lot of years in tech – the writing thing is a gig that I just fell into though I don’t consider myself a pro.

    Whether I would call myself a journalist, I don’t know – more of a columnist if anything.

  97. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013

    In response, through writing features rather than going to college to do journalism.

  98. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013

    Welcome to the site KennyB!

  99. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey08-01-2013

    The link (in a tenuous sense) is networks – my origins are in psych and neurology but I rapidly found my niche in technology and networks which, strangely, aren’t too dissimilar.

    Am hoping to start a new psych project this year though in order to try and pay the bills…

  100. AndrewAndrew08-01-2013

    Ian – nowt wrong with dark choc degestives, apart from there impact on my waist line.

    Im starting to get fed up with all the young whipper snappers in our team, i want to see men, big strong strapping men……

  101. Bring back Salifou!!!

  102. B62 VillaB62 Villa08-01-2013

    Just scanned through some of the other sites , even the more sensible sites are going into overdrive, thd majority want Lambert out ( and Lerner/Faulkner). The big fear is he can’t arrest this slide because he is out of his depth, some have even described him as arrogant and stubborn. For me I think he is on borrowed time , when we lose sat ( and we will), the pressure will be intense, we will be pretty much half way through the transfer window( give of take ), and I can’t see any cavalry on the horizon . Delph, Bannan , Bennett, should never play for us again , truly awful players, Clark is terrible but we have no one else, this team needs proper investment not more cash spunked on has beens and never will be’s.
    I’ll be amazed if Lamberts here next season

  103. FremFrem08-01-2013

    has lambert said we dont need to sighn anyone ??

    ive read a few twitter accounts saying it ???

  104. IanIan08-01-2013

    Oh well, the good news is I have a mojito in my hand now…

  105. AndrewAndrew08-01-2013

    I doubt he would of said that frem……however much i think lambert should stay if we loose to the saints on sat things are going to get heated.

  106. Steve WSteve W08-01-2013

    I see criticism of the midfield and agree with it. But the game was lost at the back with the spineless weaklings we call our back four.

    The first was a fluke but every goal came from dozy defending of a set piece. Every time the ball came in our box they looked like scoring. I lost count of the amount of times Bennett back pedalled into our box ushering in a cross. Clark couldn’t have been worse if he was in a coma. Baker might eventually make a centre half but not on that performance and certainly not in partnership with that idiot.

    I said this morning that I feared for us every time the ball comes into our box – if I can see it why can’t those retards? And yet Bennett when he wasnt aimlessly hoofing it long didn’t stop a single cross and Clark was outwitted time and again by a 4th division journeyman.

  107. FremFrem08-01-2013

    I think he will go fi we lose on saturday.

    but then we definitely wont get new players and definitely wont stay up

  108. B62 VillaB62 Villa08-01-2013

    If we lose Saturday I think we’re down, we’re in a nosedive that we can’t pull out of. Forget Wembley it’s gone, Bradford will score at VP meaning we have to score 4. More worryingly Lambert doesn’t seem to know Whst to do, when the going got tough tonight he hid on the bench. No leadership on or off the pitch. Relegation seems more likely week by week.
    Randy Back him or sack him

  109. FremFrem09-01-2013

    hangeland anyone ??

  110. Frankfurt VillanFrankfurt Villan09-01-2013

    Hi Matt,
    The true situation is that a 2:0 victory in the Second Leg means we go to Wembley. Appalling as the display this evening was, I still believe this is achievable.

    My immediate concern is Saturday’s game against So’ton. Ricky Lambert and his crew would have been licking their lips as they watched that. The instructions from Mr Adkins will be simple; get an early goal and watch whatever confidence is left drain away. Then tear them to bits.

    The Bradford game is still just about salvageable, because we have 2 bites at the cherry. In terms of the future of the club, the result against Southampton is more important. As another sign of their confidence, their ticket allocation has been completely sold out.

    PL must get the selection and the tactics right first time on Saturday. To say its a 6-pointer is to understate the importance of the game.

  111. IanIan09-01-2013

    We should get Eric Djemba Djemba back

  112. FremFrem09-01-2013

    ye lambert did looked so lost which was worrying. i think hes lost all faith in our players and villa, especially if there wont be many players coming in

  113. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman09-01-2013

    Matt, I work in digital marketing & ecommerce so a kind of related field. Writing features always looked like the fun part, being a reporter or copy editor always looked quite dull to me.

    Steve W, the defending isn’t good enough, not by a long stretch. Still put most the blame on the midfield though. If they were capable of keeping the ball, building attacks, and winning the ball back our defence wouldn’t be getting smashed. Watching us is like watching surf championships. Every 5 mins a heavy set rolls in and our defence gets smashed by a 4 or 5 consecutive waves of attacks.

    For the love of god, please sign a good DM and some players that can retain possession.

  114. FremFrem09-01-2013

    ive never got this 6 pointer saying.

    we have already lost to saints, hows it a 6 pointer ??

  115. @RonnieBiggs@RonnieBiggs09-01-2013

    Warnock yes, Hutton never (how he never got penalized for handball last season I will never know, have never seen someone ride their luck so much, you’d have sworn he was playing volleyball in the box last season not football… clueless)

  116. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman09-01-2013

    Frankfurt, I think the Saints match is possibly the most important one we’ve had in recent history. If we play well and win we can start to build again.

    Winning makes relegation unlikely. Losing makes relegation probable. From a probability and bookies perspective its as simple and black and white as that.

    Probable relegation is and the fall out from losing is unthinkable.

  117. FremFrem09-01-2013

    the reliable on twitter says dale stephens deal is close.

    can only be better than BB and delph but not a ball winner. hangeland and a solid DM needed as well as a LB and a couple of forwards

  118. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman09-01-2013

    No thanks Frem, Lambert gets the full season with whole hearted support, it’s the only way we’ll get through this.

    I still have faith he can do it

  119. Ian GibsonIan Gibson09-01-2013

    A six pointer is a very big stag worth shooting because we can. Frem, there is a six point difference between winning and losing. ie if your are at 20 points and opposition at 23,, you lose and you are 6 points down, win and you are tied. This is 6 points.

  120. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman09-01-2013

    Frem, if we can land stephens, hangerland, and a good DM I’d be ecstatic, it would stop the rot and improve us massively.

    Ideally a LB and AM/F as well but the priority has to be the others.

  121. @RonnieBiggs@RonnieBiggs09-01-2013

    I’m for bringing Warnock back and playing him as defensive midfielder. God when Concrete went down we never knew his presence would be missed THIS much. Reminds me of when Laursen went down and our Champions League dream disappeared with his faulty knee (aaaah for those days again drunk on MON euphoria never knowing the Hangover of overspending would last for 3 seasons but ‘me oh me oh my wasn’t that a Party’ lads!)…

  122. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman09-01-2013

    Great analogy Ronnie. Once the party finished all we were left with was a half eaten kebab, a black eye, and a rank bird that won’t take the hint and leave.

  123. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey09-01-2013


    Yes, the game is still winnable and I’m not losing my head, but restoring confidence and solidifying the team will still prove massively challenging.

  124. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman09-01-2013

    Matt we got beaten up today. But at VP, if more clinical and wiser; we absolutely should beat Bratford comprehensively. You have to believe we should and will stuff them.

  125. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman09-01-2013

    Away was always going to be difficult. We wasted chances and made mistakes and because of that we were beaten badly.

  126. FremFrem09-01-2013

    The hardest thing is we done all the hard work against city and norwich and then do that tonight. to get this far, beat 3 good sides and lose to bradford in the semi is sickening, it makes the other results pointless

    Gav- i hope stephens isn’t our only CM sighing, he can pass and shoot but not the protecter we need. as you say hangeland and parker would be perfect.

    WBA and scum fans loving our down falls at the moment. got i hope we beat WBA

  127. FremFrem09-01-2013

    with a CB and DM in by bradford, we should beat them. a new LB and forward is needed to. DB and definitely gabby aren’t up to it. we better out bid southampton for the inter lad

  128. @RonnieBiggs@RonnieBiggs09-01-2013

    Amazingly as bad as it was that Weimann goal (who else?) still gives a legitimate chance to come back to VP and win this bloody thing and as unfathomable as it seems right now now against league 4 opposition if we play our absolute best team and the fans are owed that at the very least then that is a highly plausible score line… stranger things have happened! Could be the turning point of PL’s Villa career but we DO need Concrete back and fast! Thanks Gav, let’s never forget the part that our good mate MON played in this horror show as good as those free spending days were he certainly paid ludicrous wages to a pile of dross or even if some of those players were decent he never gave them a chance to perform because he played the same team week in week out til they ran out of gas in the final 10 matches on two occasions and that was all she wrote and speaking of Lucky (I’ve never seen a manager before or since have practically zero injuries through the course of a season that he could play the same 10 players without fail).

  129. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman09-01-2013

    Parker on loan if possible but we also need to sign one of many strong DM’s on the continent that have been spoken about.

  130. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman09-01-2013

    If we can’t beat Bratford by at least 2 goals we don’t deserve it. My money is going on us.

  131. Steve WSteve W09-01-2013

    Since he got all the praise at Liverpool and started believing he’d made it Benteke has been absolute garbage. If Bent is fit for Saturday I would start him. Lower workrate or not. In fact Benteke has been as dangerous in our box as he hasn’t been in there’s.

    People openly laughed when Bennett was made man of the match on Saturday. Well, we’re not laughing now. That wimp should never play again and I’m fully aware that means starting planks like Stevens & the wretched Lichaj.

    Gave I agree the midfield is woeful but it was full backs letting crosses come in and centre halves being caught flat footed from routine set pieces that caused all the problems. Vlaar needs to get his arsenal back on the pitch and I would take an unfit Dunno any day of three week over these dozy clowns.

  132. FremFrem09-01-2013

    we should score a few at VP but with our defence and midfield bradford have every chance of scoring a goal and if they do its game over

  133. @RonnieBiggs@RonnieBiggs09-01-2013

    Enda looked pretty darn good to me against Valencia when we played Man U, I’d give him a chance…

  134. Steve WSteve W09-01-2013

    This phone is as useless as a Villa defender. I shouldn’t be as bothered as this because rest assured they won’t be and they don’t deserve my support. F*** them and goodnight.

  135. Liam ScahillLiam Scahill09-01-2013

    It’s sickening that PL is paying for years of Lerner decline, MON can’t be blamed forever and the one constant at the club since our fall from grace began is wonderful Randy & Ginger. I admire the positive spinners among our ranks but the harsh reality is we are as bad if not worse than this time last year.

    Clark needs a rest and is not a CB as I’m sick of saying, Bin-it at lb is rubbish utter cr*p in every facet of the game. The midfield as we all know is tripe to fix it is going to take 30 million I think ala the Bent panic buy but on 4 or so players.

  136. Ian GibsonIan Gibson09-01-2013

    I read John Clark’s blog backwards and it is much more pleasant reading. :-)