It is closing in on 2 years since we last set eyes on Paul Lambert at Villa Park, but here we are about to face him and his latest charges, the Wolves. And he looks more relaxed in his new surroundings, I have to say.

It appears to me that Lambert’s new project is a more long term issue, and where Wolves are in the table (at Lambert’s usual position of 16th or thereabouts), and nothing in their recent league results that should cause Villa much alarm (they lost their last home game, against QPR), Villa really must think positively and get the win.

But of course, this is a ‘derby’ match and pride is at stake. Added to that, Wolves won on the week-end in the FA Cup at Premier League Stoke, so we should expect them to show some confidence in this upcoming match. Counteracting that is the fact that Wolves’ away form has been quite good this season, while their home form (6 defeats, 3 wins, 3 draws) is not at all good. But neither is Villa’s away form! Those considerations, plus the fact that Villa are light in the strike department and not so strong in midfield, seems to point to a draw as the outcome.

The frustration would be that extracting just one point from Wolves is not enough if Villa are to make real headway to the play-offs. Such a result may come to prove that Villa’s project in the Championship is a two term affair after all, particularly as we need to get a bit more than 2 points a match in the remainder of the season to get to the play-offs.

However, as Villa fans we have learnt not to expect much having known every frustration during the course of the last 20 years, and perhaps – just perhaps – we are now at the point where we need to mark time in anticipation that all will come together for a big launch next season.

Even so, not to win at Wolves would be disappointing and a slight dent in our aspirations. And we surely do not relish the thought of any sign of contentment from their manager if they manage to take anything from this match!

Comments 61

  1. “Even so, not to win at Wolves would be disappointing and a slight dent in our aspirations”

    John , what have you seen this season from Villa that fills you with such conviction that they should beat Wolves ?

    I’m pretty much resigned to a prolonged stay in the championship and it doesn’t particularly bother me if Villa play watchable football.

  2. Prox,

    I merely intimated that I would be disappointed, not that Villa *will*win! πŸ˜‰

    No, it’s just the ingrained Villa fan that I am that always lives in hope even when reason may point the other way!

  3. prox- when your manager says “I let them off the league in the last 15” when we were losing it tells you a lot about his instructions. The commentators continual reference to 6 at the back was a clue too. The midfield’s is weak no doubt, has been for years now, even Delph and cleverly were iffy.

    Theres a question I can’t answer and that is why does every player that comes to Villa stop playing? these aren’t world beaters but they are well paid professionals and internationals that attracted our attention somehow. We cannot even do the basics, I’m at a a loss to explain it

    JL- please let us not be embarrassing is all I ask

  4. good be fun
    lambert v spud both teams parking the bus and then going for it last 15mins like leeds match
    if bruce has not got a midfielder in for sat and no replacement for rudi i only see us getting beat
    should have kept rudi went route one miss out midfield,i no its hard to miss something not their to start

  5. Nice to see you Prox and get your input.

    Glad we are starting to get more discussion, and find that really we are all in some sort of agreement about what Villa need, and what should happen with some players. I had this inkling that Grealish may disappear in the last minute of the window to Spurs, if he has not started to make a real contribution to Villa’s play.

    I also have the feeling that the Dr is insistent on Villa returning to the Premiership this season, as next season with the amount of investment in the terms of money, management and players, going into Championship teams this season, and the money the relegated clubs will have available, possibility of a smaller premiership in the future, makes it so much harder in the future.

    I am sure the remit Bruce was given was to get us up whatever it costs, and he accepted that, which then puts an awful lot of pressure on him, and means that we are on a win at any cost run for the future. This I feel is also backed up in his criticism of the players in recent times, with his pleasure at them stick so well to his discipline against Spurs, even if it did not get a result.

  6. Good question Mark .
    When were we last pleasantly surprised with the quality of a new signing , a year later say ?
    Ashley Young ? Carew ? Olsen ? Melberg ?

  7. If we have no new players for the Wolves game, and everyone is fit, perhaps we should play the following:

    Johnstone Hutton Chester Baker Amavi Bacuna Jedinak Grealish Adomah Elphick Gabby

    I am sure a rough handful like Tommy could cause a lot of problems up front with Gabby, and who knows, especially from a few ste pieces…!!

    The hammers did the same when they were short of strikers and it worked for a while.

  8. Prox- we have bought players to develop like bacuna and they are still the same as the day they walked in, we have bought players who still play internationally and they come down to his level. It just has to be the coaching . When your U23’s play better without 1st teamers in it against teams with 1st teamers in it there is a problem πŸ™‚

    nice to see you back

  9. Cheers Paul .
    I think we have not fared well over the past few seasons on a policy of drastic measures for potential short term gains.

    Elphick with gabby up front ? I wouldn’t let Gabby be the bleedin mascot! The whole idea of putting the bigman up front to maybe get on the end of something reminds me of the depressing 2000 cup final with Dion Dublin scrambling around trying to control 70 yard clearances. Its depressing to even think of it . That poxy goal by that smiley little bollix!

  10. Having said that , we did win an FA cup by knocking out the Utd keeper in a ,frankly, criminal frontal shoulder charge , and then scoring a couple on the poor sod who had to go change from an outfield player to the goalie. ah ,,,those were the day’s !
    John , were you at that one ?

  11. Prox: “John , were you at that one [1957]?”

    Although I went to all the main matches in the Cup run I didn’t get a ticket, sad to say. I was 13 then. Will always remember the semi against Albion but as I was at school I missed the replay, played on a week-day afternoon.

    But Dad got us our first TV only the year before so I was able to see the final on natural colour TV! πŸ˜‰

  12. Paul: “I am sure the remit Bruce was given was to get us up whatever it costs”

    Yes, I am sure this season is the main target and all will be put in an effort to get there…

    But the Doc has said that it may take 2 years as he recognises that he’s had a huge job on to turn the club round.

  13. Mark

    Watching saints who are olaying exactly like villa did against spurs.

    But they nicked a goal! And have more pace better players. And not gabby!!

    Its no surprise we havrnt developed anyone last few years, lambo, mcleish, timmy!!!

  14. Andrew- Liverpool press high up the pitch so I am not surprised Southampton were pressed back or maybe even sat back, its not the worst thing to do if you can counter quick, we don’t do anything quick πŸ˜‰

  15. I watched it on a tiny b&w TV in Josiah Mason’s orphanage in Erdington on the new invention, before my privileges were nicked & didn’t see another one until 1966, at least we won .
    Hi people,
    The 70’s steamer crew seem to be having a nap.
    Hope they come back refreshed.
    Keep the faith, however you do it is ok with me as long as you don’t bore me to death.
    Thanks for the article JL

  16. Point is bruce got stick for setting up such a formation…idea right one but we dont have the players, and spurs are miles better! Pool and spurs play same. Saints done exactly the same 3 up top and the the two out wide dropped back to make it 6 at back. Refreshing to see villa come up with a plan and change tactics if you ask me!! Shame we aint got the players to execute it !!

  17. Andrew- But spurs made 9 changes and we had our strongest team out apparently, surely in a game that meant nothing most managers would of said might as well have a go or give the youth (by that I mean green as RHM is too naughty ) a go? it was the perfect chance to entertain a little and try to dent a team that had never been on the field together. Furthermore it seems to me Bruce may be undermining the teams confidence with these tactics.

  18. Prox: “What did your dad work at John ?”

    At that time (1957) he was a deliveryman, but soon after became an insurance agent – and that’s how he finished his working days. He had a good eye for football talent and took me down occasionally to watch the Villa youth. He thought the world of George Graham, who Villa let go for a ridiculous trifle.

    IanG: “I watched it on a tiny b&w TV in Josiah Mason’s orphanage … before my privileges were nicked”

    Well we won’t nick your privileges here, Ian! πŸ˜‰ Welcome back!

    Good to see Prox merrily writing as well… makes a change to Mark King … πŸ™‚

  19. Prox: “When were we last pleasantly surprised with the quality of a new signing , a year later say ? Ashley Young ? Carew ? Olsen ? Melberg ?”

    That *is* a good question…

    Olsen? You mean Laursen? … When fit he was great i.m.o. Sadly he had to give up…

    Of your list I otherwise thought of Melberg, but I actually think Milner was a our best recent asset.

  20. JL
    Thanks for the new leader.
    I didn’t see a colour TV until 1978, thought it the flashiest thing on Earth. It was a 26 inch too.
    Wolves’ vs Villa. Maybe the Legend will score.

  21. Iana: “I didn’t see a colour TV until 1978, thought it the flashiest thing on Earth. It was a 26 inch too.”

    Hah! Back in ’56 a 12″ screen was all we got!

    Yes, colour didn’t come out until about ’68 as I recall.

  22. James,

    Yes, since 2011 we’ve signed no-one of great value. Bent was completely misused after a good start.

    Of earlier years, both Alpay and Collymore were great players but went wrong in their attitude, and that took ’em down.

    Delph we’ve missed out and he’s one who would be useful for us now.

  23. one of the 8?

    Fulham’s Tom Cairney is a transfer target for Aston Villa, the Daily Mirror claim.

    Cairney played under Villa boss Steve Bruce at Hull, before leaving to join Blackburn Rovers in January 2014.

  24. and Villa’s latest song should be “Old Uncle Tom Cairney and all!”

    If all the press rumours had half a chance of being true we may sign Henry Lansbury, Stuart Dowing, James Bree, Conor Hourihane, Jordan Rhodes, Carl Jenkinson, anyone who fancies playing for us, and now Uncle Tom Cairney and all, old Uncle Tom Cairney and all!

  25. Nice for all the kinks posted Mark
    sounds like a few first teamers are on there way out the door possibly

    could be a completely different team by close of the window

    jen and frem if your watching i hope you guts are well

  26. we could sell 2 players to china for close to 50 mil quite easily as you say it makes sense — i hear the quote is 20mil for crainey

    clubs are going to play hardball with us so it may take some doing changing this team

  27. “Very sad … Graham Taylor; friend of Aston Villa.”
    Hear hear JL, rescued us and took us to 2nd in the league and somehow produced a watchable, winning team out of what seemed to be average players.
    And of course brought The Lord Paul McGrath to us……………………
    Remember the ovation before the game when he returned to VP as manager of another team – he was obviously very moved by it.


  28. Very sad news about GT although some knocked his style of play it was very effective for the time and got the job done, he may have signed Paul McGrath thank the lord but he also signed Ian Ormandroyd normally on the list of worst Villa players of all time.

    Would love Lansbury to sign he is the type of player we need in the middle something we have not had in a good while, seems like Kodija is proving to be a big miss while he is away with no one close to filling his boots, but did like the look of the new keeper at the weekend he certainly knows he is going to be busy with our back four.


  29. Old Villa- ” somehow produced a watchable, winning team out of what seemed to be average players.”

    its an art not many managers appear to have judging on recent appointments

  30. Andrew,

    Yep, I’m happy to do that – perhaps tomorrow. Strangely enough I’ve just been commissioned to do an essay on Jimmy Hogan … both have come up on the same day.

    GT not only signed Paul of course, but also Platty and Dwight Yorke. *And* brought back Gordon Cowans. Yes, there were a couple of not-so-goods as well, but I think the big majority of his signings were good ‘uns.

    He even signed Peter Crouch, of course, and said he’d play for England one day, and he did. But not before O’Dreary got rid of him for a pittance to Southampton. They soon after sold him to Liverpool for a big profit!

  31. Sad,

    That super computer may be too close to the truth…..!!!!

    I join with everyone, and am completely shocked at the death of Graham Taylor today. A great football man and a great manager. I hope that he will receive the usual respect on Saturday at Molineux.

  32. JL – I remember those tiny black and white tvs that always seemed to be lost inside giant cabinets.
    I was actually at Wembley for the ’57 Final. My uncle used to train life-guards for Staffordshire (there’s an anomaly!) but he always got a couple of final tickets. That old pals allocation of tickets to all and sundry went on then as it does now; anyway he treated me to the final.
    When he died I found the programmes for every final from post-war up to 1976 along with the song sheets. I gave them to a fellow Villa fan when I moved out here.
    According to Tony Xia he has 6 or 7 deals under way and expects to clinch 3 or 4 of them but like Theresa Mayhem he is keeping the details secret
    I think without strengthening we can only expect a draw at least from Wolves and atop-half of table this season.

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