The Good, Bad & Ugly – Is Villa’s Season Turning for the Worse?


Although he will obviously take a fair amount of time to shake off his rustiness and rediscover his touch and sharpness, Christian Benteke looked to have been returned to a starting spot rather too soon. Clearly nowhere near fit, the Belgian had almost as little impact on the game as Gabby Agbonlahor.

With just four goals from eight games this season – Sergio Aguero scored that many in 63 minutes on Saturday and Southampton doubled that total in one game in their 8-0 win over Sunderland – Villa desperately need both the midfield to start delivering chances to Benteke, and the man himself to find his form quickly if the current situation is to get any better any time soon.

The absence of Grealish from the matchday 18 was baffling. Having just signed a new contract he would have been raring to go, and yet he was left out of the squad, a fact which made watching the performances of Kieran Richardson and Charles N’Zogbia even more painful than it otherwise would have been.

For the purposes of time- and word-saving, I’ll try to leave the comments on individual players’ performances there.

As one key player returns, another falls. Christian Benteke’s return to the match-day squad has been quickly overshadowed by the hammer blow of Fabian Delph’s dislocated shoulder.

After having to endure six months without the man who effectively constituted the club’s entire attacking threat, Villa now face ominous prospect of up to two months without their star man in midfield.

The fact that the England international is reportedly likely to be sidelined until just before Christmas leaves Villa’s midfield without its driving force in the centre. It also places far more pressure on Carlos Sanchez to quickly adapt to the pace of the Premier League and to begin showing his quality on the pitch. Even if he can do this, it’s going to be a long, long couple of months.

Nathan Baker limping off reinforced the apparent perpetuity of Villa’s injury problems. With Philippe Senderos injured during the international break, Ron Vlaar having been struggling with injuries for much of the season so far, and Jores Okore continually absent, Villa are hardly blessed with centre-back options.

One day in the distant future we might see Villa’s first-choice eleven players on the pitch at the same time, but it won’t be for a good while yet.




Villa’s performance went from looking merely dishearteningly predictable early on to becoming borderline embarrassing, and the optimism that followed Villa’s start to the season and the win over Liverpool is now a distant memory.

The goals that Villa conceded were dreadful to watch. For the first, Leighton Baines was given all the time in the world to cross and Aly Cissokho was the wrong side of Phil Jagielka seemingly for an age, making it all too easy; for the second, the defending to allow Lukaku in was awful and Guzan dropped a rare clanger. I won’t dissect the third as although I have seen it since, I’m not afraid to say that my attention had somewhat waned by that point in the game.

Every week, as soon as Villa go behind the game looks up. The quality of opposition that has been beating us week-in week-out has undoubtedly been high, but it’s not about the results – let’s be honest, what were we expecting?

It’s about the 440+ minutes without a goal, and the way we seem to be meekly slipping back into the habit of failing to even contest games. Yes we’ve played last season’s top five in our last five games, but that doesn’t excuse the lack of fight that has been shown in the face of adversity in the last few weeks since the excellent result at Anfield.

The quality of opposition, although undoubtedly an obstacle to overcome, cannot be used as an excuse for lack of results or performances. After the must-win QPR clash next weekend, Villa face two more teams higher up the table than themselves in West Ham and Southampton, and yet we have to be looking at battling to secure points.

If Villa go to QPR and lose – a real possibility as far as I’m concerned – last season’s vitriolic outpouring of feeling against Lambert and Randy Lerner will resurface with a vengeance.



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  1. Good to see someone else questioning the baffling Hutton love in, i dont care how many times he makes a powerful attacking run, he’s our right back and he cant defend to save his life, gives way to much space to players and his tackles are constantly reckless cuase of how far out of position he is. new contact for him and Lambert were way too hasty!

    • Hutton love in ? well done Mick for explaining to us your lack of understanding as to Huttons role as a wingback gives you cause to complain about him and ignore how much effort he has been making for the good of the team compared to some of his team mates

  2. So all Kranky & Terry do is whinge and whine and criticise those prepared to answer them back . Well I aint gone despite the efforts of BT to restrict my internet access !
    Son Lyme makes some fair comments and much of what he says I agree with and not the blind view from the afore mentioned regular critics of all thing Villa !
    The toffees may have had a poor season up untill now but on the day they can be very difficult to beat. And so it was for Villa with a line up that included several changes which included players short on match fitness including Vlaar & Benteke both just back from injury , Yes I’ve no doubt the regular whingers would say that is not acceptable but that is the state of the squad and Lambert has to make the best of the squad & get Benteke firing on all cylinders which can only come by playing him . Hopefull that will not be far off and we can push back up the table as he and the other players reach peak fitness
    As for Randy he looked as miserable as some sound so perhaps we will see some tranfer action in January with the likes of Bent & N’Zogbia being replaced

    • I might whinge, I might whine, in your humble opinion that is, but I sit here typing without the aid of rose tinted specs, and also have a clear view of the screen as I don’t wear blinkers. UTV

      • so kranky you have as clear a view of the screen as your tunnel vision allows , so perhaps you should consult an optician or is just that you have selective tunnel vision that can only detect faults with how Villa perform and selectively ignore their good points and how the opposition perform. ?
        Of course Villa’s performance could be better , and I for one can see many ways that could be acheived . But whinging solves nothing , and nor does blame which is just an excuse to whinge .
        As the only way to solve a problem is to look to what caused it and correct that . And there is no instant cure for Villa’s problems as they are decades old and if Villa are to change from being the occassionally successful team of the past to one that can have regular success that will take time , but to see that one has to look past the recent failures for the little things that show that things might change for the better , such as despite the result the team that finished at Goodison was bettr than the one that started. And it’s no good complaining there are no goals when both the 1st & 2nd choice strikers are injured

      • Terry you can try and insult me but but all you do is show yourself up as the playground bully who has never grown up so why don’t you go back to playing with your tonka toys ?

        • Mr, or is it Mrs? Gale. Why keep whingeing about my views?
          And you say “Of course Villa’s performance could be better”. Thank you very much for backing my opinion. Top man, or woman that is.

          • Are you having a gender crisis Kranky ? I only ask as you and Terri sound like a couple of old bags whinging & whineing about all things Villa . As for me commenting well the pair of you chose to make comments about me even though I had not replied to the topic . As for backing your comments I certainly don’t back your bigotry against the mighty Villa
            As for my gender I’m certain that I am male not that it matters unless of course your a sexist turd !

  3. I said my bit after the last game, and was castigated by C Gale, I think it was, apparently his is the only opinion that’s valid, any criticism is passed off as “gloom and doom”

    So here we go again…….. Once more we are beaten by the fact that PL has only one set of tactics. Which are, mass defence, then break and hope for a quick goal, worked against Liverpool, because they didn’t have a clue what to do when they went behind.

    Now when we go behind, he sticks to those tactics, but the worst thing is, even at 2 or 3 goals down, the manager persists with the same glaringly obvious and readable way of playing.

    The players also seem to go into defeatist mode, and lose concentration, as per the third goal, for which they all should be on the training ground 8 hours a day sorting that out, instead of off golfing, but maybe they are too tired for that.

    I don’t want to see these results week on week, forget who we’re playing, forget all the same old excuses, I want to see full effort from the team, they’re playing in our claret and blue so should be proud of that, yeah I know, a joke, and I want to see the manager realise that’s what he is, a manager with a long contract, which was awarded for failure, getting his head around the fact that there is more ways to set a side up, with a variation of tactics, to win games.

    An example of his ineptitude, is repeatedly playing a central striker on the wing, Weimann, I rest my case. UTV

      • So Terry you moan when I don’t post and are not happy when I reply to your comments . Well I think that just proves my point about what I said

        And NO I am not related to any of the staff at Villa although I might be related to a player from a certain copy cat team from Landan !

  4. Thanks for the article. I have two comments to share.
    First off, I don’t buy the Hutton had a good game angle. He wasn’t bad but Baines was the Everton MOM. Baines was Hutton’s challenge. He failed. To be fair to Hutton he knows his limitations. When he goes forward and is challenged, he will look to lay the ball off or if that isn’t on, he will run it and seek to knock it off the opponent to win a throw or a corner. Not scintillating, but efficient.
    The other side however …? Aly Cissokho follows in a long line of Villa players. He breaks forward with speed and menace. Speeds past opponents into dangerous areas. Then he starts to think. Gets confused. Panics. Then either loses the ball or blasts it hopefully in the general direction of the box, Sometimes he even gets close but mostly he gifts possession to the opponents or wastes the opportunity. Sound familiar?
    Everton’s defenders won that game, especially the full backs. They showed us how we should be seeking to play.
    Secondly, I think we need to do a survey of Villa blogs and articles over the course of the season. Four games in and everything was about our new resilience and the hope of better things. Eight games in and the bed sheet painters are up in arms with new calls for Lambert Out. The truth lies somewhere in between. Lambert is not Roberto Martinez – but then Roberto wouldn’t come to Villa because we are perceived as a club who get on the managers back. Lambert did come – and spending Championship money – kept us in the top flight. Now comes his biggest challenge. To form a team that can compete. The addition of Roy Keane is a good thing – but the weakness and lack of flair in Villa’s squad remains. Personally, I would still take Wes Hoolahan over Charles N’Zogbia – as I’m sure would Lambert – but things move on.
    We are where we are, and having now played last seasons top five in our opening eight games, we find ourselves mid-table with ten points. The real test is now to come. Let’s reconvene in another four games and if it gets worse I’ll strip my own bed.

    Thanks again for taking the time to write this article.


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