What We Learnt as Villa Fans This Week After Dour West Ham Draw

shelley moms

The concrete sets, Benteke needs help and the regression of Villa’s tactics

Aston Villa’s dour 0 – 0 bore draw at Upton Park instigated fierce debate amongst fans on social media websites yesterday as ‘positive‘ and ‘negative’ accusations were made.  Some fans justified yesterday’s dismal performance as just another example of Villa’s inconsistency and referred liberally to the fact that Villa had lost 1 – 0 to the Hammers last season. Alternatively, there were also those who gritted their teeth uncomfortably as Villa set up camp in West Ham’s half and showed little, if any, desire to maintain possession.  Villa have now failed to score in four consecutive games. Unlucky? Unbalanced? It’s a matter of opinion.  The debate will continue to rumble on in the coming weeks for sure…

Here’s what we learnt this week a Villa fans…


Tough task for Benteke

There have been times this season where I wondered why Villa didn’t sell Benteke.  Paul Lambert was responsible for bringing to the club one of the best strikers I’ve seen in my life-time at Villa and he deserves immense credit for that.  But you’d have thought that having one of the most coveted strikers in Europe might encourage Lambert to build a team around Benteke, or play to his strengths?  Sadly, this isn’t the case. Benteke looks more and more isolated in each game and it really saddens me to see Villa misusing their best asset in this way.  With no wingers and no attacking midfielder, the £40m striker is currently feeding off scraps and the odd cross from a full back.  In my opinion its pretty shameful. Benteke enjoys being surrounded by creative players on international duty such as Hazard, Chadli, Kevin De Bruyne and Dries Mertens.  At Villa the imposing striker is surrounded by two quick strikers (who do not have the creativity of specialist wingers) and a lack of creativity through the middle.  Watching Benteke yesterday I was reminded of one of Zlatan’s famous comments, “You bought a Ferrari, but you are driving it like a Fiat”


Concrete Ron

I have been impressed with Ron Vlaar’s performances in recent games.  He’s still a little iffy when facing players that possess clever movement, but as a penalty box defender he is really excelling for Villa this season.  Vlaar marshalled the back three reasonably well yesterday and made three tackles and five interceptions.  Vlaar is one of the few Villa players who are playing better this season than last season, and the Dutch centre back has certainly been instrumental in Villa’s improved defensive performances.  Vlaar stated earlier in the season that he was aiming to play well for Villa in the hope that he would be included in the Holland squad for the 2014 World Cup.  Vlaar certainly seems likely to go to Brazil if he maintains his current form (and if his knees hold up).  Vlaar has been included in Louis Van Gaal’s squad for the upcoming friendlies in November, and the Villa defender is certainly justifying his selection right now for the Oranje.


Why ‘park the bus’?

If Villa can press the ball against Arsenal and Chelsea, why not Hull and West Ham?


Project Stoke

Lambert said yesterday, “There’s more to us than just counter attacking, we can play.”  However, Villa have some of the worst possession stats in the Premier League this season, and had Lambert wanted to progress his possession based ground work from last season, then surely he would have concentrated on improving central midfield rather than buying two more strikers.  The quicker Villa return to possession based, passing football (probably after January as we have no attacking midfield players) the better.  (Keep you eyes open for more from Shelley on this subject).


Lowton returns

I was pleased to see Matthew Lowton return to the side yesterday.  He had a very composed game and could have had an assist with an excellent cross for Benteke late in the second half.  Welcome back Matt!


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  1. I think Lambert is trying to tailor his tactics to each individual game and team that we play against. At times it work, and I like that he wants to be flexible, but really it is detrimental to us that we don’t have a set way of playing.

    We’ve played 4-3-3, 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1, 3-5-2 (or 8-0-2 as I prefer to call it) already this season. We’ve had games where we keep the ball well and keep the ball on the floor a lot, trying to build attacks. We’ve had games where we defend and hit teams on the break like lightening. We’ve had games where we shamelessly lump it forward. We’ve had games where it looks like we had no idea what we were doing.

    If we could have some sort of consistency in the way we play – and not a consistent string of defending deep, backing off and long aimless punts that we saw against West Ham – then we might find some kind of form and fluidity.

    We went 4-3-3 for the 2nd half of last season. The players grew into it and new their jobs. They gained confidence and were a real match for every team we faced. Right now they look like they don’t know where they are supposed to be and don’t seem confident.

    Ultimately we do need to sign attacking midfielders that can create chances, amongst other areas of the squad, but until then Lambert needs to decide on a way of playing that allows us to defend effectively and still create chances. And stick to it.

  2. Would love for us to go for De bruyne on loan in Jan. Think he is the sort of player we need, and we’re the sort of club he needs.

  3. Possession football means we have to keep the ball and you all know that we can’t string two passes together , now tonev Kovak helainius Bacuna luna and the unlucky okora where brought in to move us on to the next level so far we’ve seen Bacuna shine in different positions due to injuries or lose of form to other player s luna has settled in nicely so that leaves tonev Kozak and helainius who’s so far haven’t come to the party now there could be several reasons for this, form , formation , adaptability , or just plain Paul lambert not knowing how to use them in the squad I would go for the latter , okora looked really good untill he got injured, so i will say this, the time has come for lambert to know his team and the style of football he wishes astonvilla to be associated with he should know his best eleven and the players he can trust to fill the void when injuries hit the squad , so knowing that he is still weighting up his squad 10 games in means that for us supporters up and the land who support the villa we once again have to be patient and give him time , time I for one will give him , the rest of this season at least ., because if we haven’t made a real improvement and I don’t mean top eight I mean top twelve plus and improvement in our football I like so many others will feel cheated …………I’ve already heard the crowd turn on lambert and for me it’s to early to turn on him so let’s give him the time lets pray that he can turn us into a good passing footballing team with a good winning mentality .

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