Villa again lose at home, lose to a relegation rival, fail to keep a clean sheet and fail to create good chances
Here is the latest piece from Chris Austin who paints a grim picture after yet another home defeat.
I think it is fair to say that the last time Villa faced West Ham earlier this season at Upton Park the game lacked entertainment value. In fact, if handed a choice between re-watching that encounter and watching a slow motion replay of a Kasparov vs Short chess match one could be forgiven for not making an immediate decision. That match epitomised almost every criticism that has been levelled at Villa this year; from the lack of attacking prowess, to the dour midfield creativity, Villa were appalling but thankfully so were West Ham.
Today’s match against West Ham, however, highlighted not only the failings that the first fixture showcased but bluntly underlined our ongoing defensive frailties. In what can only be described as an utter catastrophe, Villa again lose at home, lose to a relegation rival, fail to keep a clean sheet and fail to create good chances. Against Everton we generated a single chance and today we failed to create much more. The truth is the writers of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ have shown more creativity over the years even if the bulk of their material involve pensioners falling down a hill.
That is, of course, until Marc Albrighton came on and suddenly Villa started doing bizarre, almost alien things out on the pitch such as threatening defences and putting crosses into the box leading to the truly foreign concept of corners and chances. The introduction of Albrighton changed the game, albeit far too late for Villa as our attacking threats had already long since thrown in the towel, content to lick their wounds quietly and not make a fuss. It begs the question as to whether Lambert sees what we see, or was he an early adopter of a Google Glass system riddled with flaws?
Lambert’s single-minded pursuit of Wes Hoolahan, as if he were some sort of underappreciated footballing messiah, resulted in Villa acquiring nobody to fill the lauded “number 10″ spot where Villa have been found to be sorely lacking although rumours about a failed £8m bid for some unknown European midfielder have since surfaced, as if we should be appreciative that Villa have made an effort yet for all we know they’ve downloaded a Football Manager editor and scanned for any player with a PA of 150 or more and randomly pointed at him regardless of who he is or whether he’s currently in the first team at Juventus.
The fact that we clearly could have acquired somebody like Lewis Holtby on loan (since the man himself ended up Fulham) and settled for nobody is further indicative of our haphazard approach to the transfer market. With no moves to shore up our central defence either we’re left with the uncomfortable knowledge that in the absence of Vlaar (a sadly common occurrence) Villa are forced to play a central defensive duo that at best are mostly shaky and at worst lead to mishaps like those that used to appear on the old Danny Baker Own Goals and Gaffs videos.
It is perhaps unsurprising that Nathan Baker has been described as Villa’s “Calamity Jane” this past week by one newspaper and I can’t help but consider it a truly sad state of affairs when a club like Aston Villa who have often impressed with their defensive record now regularly boast a pairing that would struggle to intimidate next door’s ornithophobic cat.
Still, onward and upward as they say. At least our next game is away from home against a team we’ve actually managed to beat at home and if Lambert starts Albrighton perhaps we might actually have a shot at creating a decent chance before the 75th minute. I wouldn’t bet on it though, we’ll probably discover Moustapha Salifou and Mathieu Berson are still contracted to the club and he’ll play them instead, because why the hell not, right?