Poyet Expecting Villa to “Go For It” as Lambert Still Fearful of Relegation

Aston Villa vs Sunderland 2014/15

[quote_center]There have been six red cards in the last 11 Barclays Premier League meetings between Aston Villa and Sunderland[/quote_center]

Mention this fixture and it’s difficult to think of anything but Lambert’s finest moment when we won 6-1 two seasons ago. Aside from that result though, we’ve struggled against Sunderland in recent home clashes…

Lambert on Sunderland

“History tells you that you’ve got to earn the right to stay in the league. Regardless of how big your name is or how big your club is, you have to earn the right to stay in the league.

“Everybody’s the same. You take out that top six big clubs and everybody fights like anything to stay in the league.

“Sunderland, for some reason, have been down there as well for the last few years. They say you need 40 points. We’ve got 20 – last year I think it took us until January time to get that.

“We’ve found a way that really suits us and there’ll be so many twists and turns throughout this year. If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll be fine.”

Poyet on Villa

“Villa have plenty of youth in their side, lots of young legs and they’ll be going for it playing at home.

“We need to reorganise and go there and try and win on Sunday.”

Memory Match

5th January 2011 Aston Villa 0 Sunderland 1

An 80th minute goal from Phil Bardsley clinched the points for Sunderland after Heskey was sent off. The defeat left Villa in the relegation zone for the first time since 2002.

Villa – Last five matches at home: W 1, D 2, L 2

Sunderland– Last five matches away: W 2, D 2, L 1

Villa have won once in the last five meetings between the two teams at Villa Park.

One to Watch

Adam Johnson – the ex-Manchester City man has scored twice in his last two games and netted 30 seconds into the Hull match on Boxing Day.

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

Despite a definitive improvement in the defensive department Villa still seem to struggle when playing at home. We haven’t kept any clean sheets in the last seven league matches at Villa Park and only won one of the last six. Plenty of chances were missed against Swansea which makes it even more worrying that Sunderland have kept three clean sheets in a row away from home, considering our lack of cutting edge in the final third.

What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide

Regardless of possession stats it does seem that Villa still struggle to break some teams down. Hopefully against Sunderland we see a performance like the Leicester game, in which Villa really did embrace the role of the home team and dictate the pattern of the match.

Lambert showed he was willing to change the squad around against Swansea, so with Agbonlahor and Richardson unavailable it would be nice to see more from Grealish, who impressed during his appearance at the Liberty Stadium. Looking at the suspensions it’s clearly time Villa worked on their discipline, so let’s hope for a calmer approach – especially given the fact there have been six red cards in the last 11 Barclays Premier League meetings between Aston Villa and Sunderland.

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

While the loss at Swansea was disappointing, some of the statistics were pleasing. No team completed more passes than Villa on Friday (512 in total), which certainly reveals a change in claret and blue tactics, but more importantly we had several good chances against a decent Swansea side who thrashed us 4-1 last season.

Sunderland have failed to score in four of the last five Premier League games against Villa, so the history books suggest that it might not take too much in the way of goal-scoring for us to clinch all three points.

Hopefully, Lambert has been refreshing the squad’s memories with a DVD of that 6-1 victory in the 2012/13 season to show that when the team are at their attacking best, Villa can be deadly.


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  1. No one really knows what is happening at the Academy, but it may be the case that they can only work with talent if it applies to come, and the recent struggles against relegation mean that Villa are not attractive to kids and their parents. However if Grealish continues to develop – and I agree he needs time, there is no point in starting him save perhaps for the FA cup game – and Callum Robinson joins him, that would be a good advert. But even so, nothing would feed through for several years.

    Grealish is the exception to the rule, he is a Villa fan and his dad went to Rotterdam in 1982, so the family put him into the pool at age 6.

    But like all young players, needs time to grow. More worried by Robinson who was going well at Preston, now not even on the bench. Either give him game time or send him back.

    Gardner’s return from Brighton may happen this week. If so, should he go into the first team pool? However BACUNA is ahead of him in the queue, Villa looked better once he was on the pitch yesterday. N’|Zog surely cannot be given any more chances, and Cleverley was poor. Midfield are a big reason why we are not scoring goals

    trevor FIsher

    • Robinson was on the bench yesterday and I had hoped he would get match time but perhaps that did not happen because we went down to 10 ? As for Gardner I’m not sure . A lot are pinning their hopes on him performing but reports suggest he has not performed that well unlike Johnson who is also due back this week . Yet many Villa fans don’t rate him although fans of other clubs do so it might be interesting to see just what does happen over the next few weeks
      I’m reserving judgement on Cleverly who seems to be a work horse who II’m reliably told was popular with many at ManU but did not fit with their style of play . How well he will fit in with ours remains to be seen but our midfield has been a problem for a long time , but moulding it around Sanchez might be the solution to some of those problems or could new player(s) in be the key to that ?
      If that is the answer maybe we don’t have long to wait ?

  2. can’t say I heard anyone booing Grealish today, on the contrar y fans were singing his name. And while he is still undersized and should be brought on slowly, the fact he forced saves out of Pantilimon was very pleasing.

    The acacemy is not seen as successful and since Brian Jones left the youth teams have struggled. Compared to Southampton, Villa’s record is not good. But we do have good young player and todayGrealish worked well and gained experience. Compared to N’Zgbia and Cleverley, there is no doubt whose reputation gained (and Bacuna as well, much better than N’Zog) while Okore was excellent.

    The young players can’t work miracles and I am glad we have signed experience. But the blend of youth and experience is coming along well, ad as someone said to me on the way out, that was a point won, not two points lost.

    A long way to go to mid table mediocrity but I was encouraged by some signs of development today

    trevor fisher

    • Grealish did well today but he still needs time to develop , As for N’Zogbia I’m hoping he’s out of the door very soon
      As for the accademy I think it’s been in decline of late, although I’ve not watched them much recently, the decline seems to have started before Brian Jones departure
      But perhaps that’s more to do with youth anticipating that there’s no future at Villa due to lack of progress to the 1st team . But perhaps that is starting to change ?

  3. This is a season defining moment. If Villa win they put space between themselves and the 7 teams below them. If they lose, Sunderland restart their season, go above us, and we are in the mire losing the chance to start looking up. Given Sunderland won at Newcastle ten days ago in the last minute, expect this one to go to the wire as Villa cannot score esp in the second half.

    Another long hard afternoon at Villa Park. Unless they get their scoring boots back on, which I doubt. But Poyet is right, Villa have to go for it. Let us assume they don’t lose their discipline. Going down to 10 men and getting away with it is bad practice.

    Let us hope for the turning of the tide and Lambert to continue with trying to pass the ball out of defence. I am fed up with long ball counter attack football

    Trevor Fisher.

  4. I’m afraid I disagree with the Grealish fan club ! As at times he looked like a little lad playing in a team of men ,in his cameo appearance at the Liberty . But yes he shows promice and perhaps by the end of the season he will be ready for more regular starts next season
    However with Gabby out perhaps it is time that Robinson started adding to the goal tally he was starting to amass before he was recalled from Preston

      • No unlike those who seem to delight in constantly looking for cause to complain about Villa at times I do agree with the majority . What I don’t agree with is seeing a good young player being set up for a fall because of the over eagerness of fans happy to see that happen . I want success for Villa , but what I don’t want is the club to have is one season of succcess and then to fade into obscurity for another 30 years ! Better to struggle a little longer and build for several seasons of success rather than than have more boom & bust ! Grealish already has a small following of boo boys so let’s not encouraging them by expecting too much too soon from him .
        After all a recent topic asked why if Villa have such a successfull youth set up do more accademy players not make it into the 1st team .

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