Crystal Palace 1-0 Aston Villa: Getting Bored Now.

I really am getting very bored with Aston Villa. Yet again we lose to a relegation rival and that makes it four defeats in a row. It is almost as if when we appeared to have secured our safety with our 4-1 win over Norwich the lads collectively decided that exerting any further effort would merely be wasted energy and were content to turn up, kick about a bit but provide as much offensive threat as a toothless squirrel.

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See it’s the fans that I really feel bad for – the ones that keep making those trips away to watch this crapfest every other week. The statistics say it all, we had the most possession for once yet we managed only as many shots on goal as Palace and they managed far more than us that were off-target. What the hell are we actually doing? There’s no method behind this madness and as I’ve said before, no creativity; it’s akin to watching a dog chase its own tail for ninety minutes.

And the fact that it has been like this for so long has allowed it to slowly become our normality. While the rest of the season is something that’s happening to other teams, we just trundle along content with mediocrity and not wishing to make a fuss.

I continue to struggle to see how this “better” Aston Villa team (someone in a comments section here recently described it as “ten times better”) are going to manage to even equal the points tally from last season, let alone overtake it. With trips to Tottenham and Manchester City for our final two games, the worrying fact is that we could well take no further points this season and the best we can hope for based on current form is a point against Swansea and maybe a lucky win against Hull – but when we’ve lost four on the trot, two to bona fide relegation candidates can we actually see that happening? I can’t.

So right now, all I want is for the season to end in a timely manner and for Villa to somehow survive. Then, like before, I can get caught back up in the idea that someone at Villa Park has half an idea what they’re doing and look forward to the new season and hope that this dross isn’t continually served up as an acceptable product to the fans; I’m terrified about what gets served up in the restaurant!

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Posted by Chris Austin - 12/04/2014 at 5:56 pm

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The Rumour Mill: Lambert to survive the summer.

With Aston Villa it is always difficult to know where the board’s thoughts lie, probably because they outright refuse to interact with the fans in any meaningful way. Sure, Faulkner has his occasional Q&A sessions but you do get the sense that the questions are heavily vetted and the answers pre-prepared, similar to how Father Jack Hackett was conditioned to survive a meeting with some bishops.

But if the tabloids are to be believed with their various sources, Lambert will still be given more time although there may be a limitation on that time. Today, The Daily Mail (yes, I know, believe me, I know) suggested that Lambert may be given until December but stipulating that he would require a miracle to survive longer than that.

The Express and Star quote Paul Lambert talking about his forthcoming discussions with Lerner and Faulkner over summer transfer targets, although it is worth noting that the only source for this is Lambert himself. However, it seems strange that such discussions would be planned if Villa weren’t preparing for Lambert to lead Villa into a third season.

Now if it is indeed the case that Lambert is being given until December to put things right it doesn’t really bode well for the club and I’m not even discussing Lambert’s ability as a manager. Why would Villa invest in the transfer market when they place a time limit on the man in charge to get those results? After the way Lambert has treated the club’s £24m record signing penny-pinching Lerner will surely be reluctant to fund any swoops, whether for established players or another batch of those we’ve never heard of just in case the next man in charge decides to treat them in a similar manner?

Of course, this is all speculation. Lambert may be dismissed the day after the final game, or there may be no such December-target. Maybe Lambert has a strategy in mind that will convince Lerner to back the club? Or maybe lower-end mediocrity on a budget suits Lerner just fine?

But if there is some truth to this rumour all I can say is I would rather we were committed to the man in charge or we looked elsewhere and if we do enter the 2014-15 season with Lambert still at the helm then he has to be backed in the transfer market, even if many of his signings have been less than encouraging thus far.

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Posted by Chris Austin - 07/04/2014 at 3:14 pm

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Utterly Disgusting: Time for Lambert to Step Aside But What Next?

This piece is being written by Chris Austin (@TheVacantPage) and does not necessarily represent the views of every contributor to UptheVilla.com – although I doubt they’d argue too much.

I’ve resisted the urge until now to actively fall in line with those who call for either the resignation or dismissal of Paul Lambert but after the display against Fulham, a match that we really had no excuse to be losing, I feel I simply must commit to the ever-growing voices calling for Paul Lambert to depart our club.

I’ve been quite willing to give him a chance but I believe he’s had quite enough at this point. The team that lost to Fulham consisted of seven players in the starting eleven that Lambert brought to the club (eight if we include Guzan but we won’t) and two of our three substitutes were also Lambert’s acquisitions. Therefore, there is no “transitional period” or “team rebuilding” excuse, these are the players Lambert has brought in and losing at home to the bottom of the league side is by no means acceptable.

Under Lambert’s tenure Villa have set several dubious records; we suffered our highest ever defeat when we lost 8-0 to Chelsea, we now have our worst home record in the club’s history having suffered our tenth home league defeat of the season – even in years when we have been relegated we have never been that bad at Villa Park – and our unbeaten home record against Fulham which previously stretched to fourteen games (way back to 1966) came crashing to an end yesterday.

And although we may appear to be in a more comfortable position than last season (barely) as I’ve pointed out before, if you actually take into account only the fixtures we have played in both seasons, Villa are actually doing worse than they were last term.

We’re still not safe this term and our form is comparable to those also under threat. Palace have already beaten us at home and we face them next, Southampton are flying in comparison to Villa and I could easily see us slump to an eleventh home defeat on the 19th and even Swansea City away is not an enticing prospect. We still require seven points to match our tally from last season and with the games left to play I’m not sure where we’re going to get those points from.

What makes this worse is that even if we do survive unless Lerner is willing to provide significant reinvestment in the club and fund an actual rebuilding of the team in the summer, Lambert, whether he’s here or not, might well have hammered the final nails in the coffin of Villa’s Premier League status because our team is not good enough to be here. We have been exceptionally lucky to pull an unexpected haul of ten points from the top clubs, a haul that is the main reason we’re not in Sunderland’s current position (and they have games in hand) but the fact that we cannot take points from our peers is indicative that we simply are not good enough (we also keep getting booted out of cup competitions by teams from lower divisions).

It is quite telling that Google’s helpful utility of trying to guess what you’re searching for comes up with “Paul Lambert sacked” once you start typing Lambert’s name in to the search bar, as I do to find out his latest comments but they’re always the same; “disappointing”, “injuries” and perhaps laughably “top ten finish”.

I dread to think what the future holds for Villa right now. The list of managers bookies have linked with the job should Lambert leave the club hardly inspires confidence but moreover just the fact that we will need to spend so much money to fix this mess and I cannot see Lerner letting another manager have it.

Regardless, Paul, you’ve mistreated Darren Bent for no apparent reason (unless he ran over your dog or something), you insist on playing Nathan Baker despite the fact he’s clearly not good enough, you constantly play players out of position, you haven’t learned from your mistakes, you’re setting all sorts of records we don’t bloody want and for all your bluster we’re no better now than we were last term. Since replacing a manager at this point of the season would be foolhardy (although questionable whether it is more foolhardy to let you carry on) please just bow out gracefully come May and let’s try and fix this mess before it takes us into the Championship, okay? Okay!

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Posted by Chris Austin - 06/04/2014 at 1:17 pm

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Aston Villa vs Fulham Preview.

For Fulham this is a must-win game if they are to have any hope of staving off relegation this season; for Villa this is a should-win game to try and instil confidence in a side that has taken a battering lately, both on the pitch and off.

The big news of this past week is that Villa’s star striker, Christian Benteke, has picked up an injury that will not only see him miss the rest of this season but also the World Cup and probably a few months of next season. This is a huge loss to Villa who although may be safe are not definitely safe and we can’t ignore how upsetting it will be for Benteke to miss out on the first World Cup Belgium have qualified for in a while.

Our attacking options heading into the Fulham game aren’t particularly appealing as veteran forward Gabby Agbonlahor is also a doubt for the game (illness) and he’s had an indifferent season as it is. Helenius may feature but we’ve seen so little of him fans could be forgiven for forgetting he exists, Grant Holt has been as useful as a paper contraceptive and utilised as much as one and Jordan Bowery has never been up to scratch.

Andreas Weimann is a possible and perhaps played in the correct position for a change might actually remind us why he was receiving so many plaudits last term but you can’t help but wonder how his confidence might have been hit by a season in which he has been criticised more often than not, albeit largely due to playing a role in which he isn’t accustomed?

The likelihood is we will see Holt take Benteke’s place, with either Albrighton or Weimann played on the left, despite the fact they’re both right-footers.

Our woes are not confined to the attack either. Karim El Ahmadi is another doubt in midfield, the Moroccan having provided an understated boost to the side in recent months. Lambert will almost certainly keep Bacuna at right-back despite the fact we can all see that he is not and never will be a full-back and while Albrighton will likely feature there’s perhaps an unsettling feeling that we could see somebody like Sylla feature in the side.

So it is going to be a testing afternoon for the Villans. Fulham will be buoyed by the fact that in this season’s earlier meeting at Craven Cottage they beat us 2-0 with a goal from former Villa boy Steve Sidwell. For a team who have conceded a whopping 73 league goals they may also take comfort in the fact that Villa vs Fulham is typically a low-scoring affair, with only 6 goals having been scored in the previous five meetings. Villa also haven’t beaten Fulham in their previous three encounters, the last win coming on the 10th March 2012.

With Villa’s mounting injury problems, our lack of attacking options and recent history, Fulham might fancy themselves a scalp here. Fortunately, Fulham also have trouble at Villa Park having not beaten Villa at home in 14 games (L7, D7). Villa have also been “enjoying” slightly better form in the past few games and Fulham haven’t actually claimed victory on the road since a Boxing Day win over Norwich City.

I don’t think we’re in for a particularly exciting game. Villa’s most potent attacking threat has been nullified before the game has even kicked off and while I would love to see a repeat of what we did to Norwich recently I expect a cagey affair with probably a goal difference deciding it. Fulham will throw whatever they can at us and our defence must hold better than it has but there really is no reason nor excuse we cannot take Fulham at home. If we’ve been bad this season, Fulham have been catastrophic and if Villa cannot produce the goods tomorrow then I think the calls to evaluate Lambert’s position will be deafening.

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Posted by Chris Austin - 04/04/2014 at 2:47 pm

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Let’s assume we’re safe…

It seemed to be going well for a change but after two victories on the trot Villa crashed back to Earth suffering an emphatic 4-1 home defeat to Stoke City.

It would be all too easy to focus on the negatives again; our defensive frailties cruelly exposed for the umpteenth time this season alongside our continuing lack of creativity but on the bright side with eight games left to play you do get the feeling Villa have managed to secure Premier League survival, although by no means can we rest on our laurels. Our future is very much in our hands, it is just unfortunate that we appear to have covered them in AstroGlide.

But let’s make the somewhat dangerous assumption that we have survived yet another frustrating season where for every positive there’s been three or four negatives and consider what we can do in the future?

Regardless of our likely survival, pressure from the fans has continued to mount on manager Paul Lambert and understandably so. It isn’t just the woeful performances on the pitch but the repeated mistakes that we have failed to learn from. All too often we fall victim to the same issues that have plagued us for several seasons now and things will have to change.

As it stands the bottom ten in the Premier League are, thankfully, all roughly as bad as each other with Fulham just about being the worst of the bag of mouldy apples. Even though they did just stick four past us, we’re not really any worse than Stoke City, though we’re not any better. We need to look at ways that we can break away from this collection of misfits so that we can have a season in which we’re not looking warily over our shoulders, limping away from the glue factory.

How do we achieve this? Investment is the obvious answer but Randy Lerner is long past the age when he would have chucked money at us. Lambert has been given reasonable but not extravagant budgets and chose to purchase unproven players – some of whom have made the cut, the bulk of which have not; somewhat akin to a Lidl version of Martin O’Neill.

The most likely scenario for a large cash injection comes from selling Benteke. Much to the chagrin of most of us, our big Belgian brute is unlikely to resist the overtures that will soon be coming his way from the league’s elite, particularly if he were to prove himself on the world stage in Brazil this summer. A fee of £25m+ would almost certainly be demanded from Villa’s management and we would hope that the bulk would return for investment on players.

The question, therefore, is do we trust Lambert to spend sensibly this time? In the January transfer window, Lambert finally said what we all wanted to hear and that he intended to bring in some experienced players – he then went and brought in Ryan Bertrand and Grant Holt on loan. While the former has been solid, if not overly impressive, Holt has been much as we expected him to be – a complete and utter waste of time. We may have brought others in were not Lambert so persistent over Wes Hoolahan, another signing many of us would have raised our eyebrows at in bemusement.

His record in the transfer market leaves a lot to be desired and thus I’m personally sceptical over whether supplying him with a warchest, whether from the proceeds of a Benteke sale, or due to a Mr Burns-esque Pillsbury Doughboy incident, would yield better results than it has thus far.

However, if we were to dismiss Lambert immediately we have to pay out compensation reducing any potential funds, find yet another new manager (and I think we’re long past the days of looking flirtatiously toward Carlo Ancelotti) and go through another rebuilding process that will most likely condemn us to yet another season like those that now appear to be the norm for Aston Villa, unless Lerner decided to back any new boss with a significant reinvestment in the club but I think that is too much to hope for.

It is a case of you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. Villa have managed to tunnel themselves into prison and the tunnel has collapsed behind them. Perhaps the most we can hope for is that this “exciting, youth-driven squad” just clicks next season and we can write this all off as a bad dream? Whatever happens, as it stands, we need a new centre-back, a new creative midfielder and a solid left-back… I feel like I’m repeating myself here but that may be because we’ve needed this for at least three years now.

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Posted by Chris Austin - 26/03/2014 at 2:13 pm

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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?

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Posted by upthevilla - 08/02/2014 at 11:18 pm

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“Our left wing has been as weak and vulnerable as a ten year old malnourished donkey for some time now”

Aston Villa have finally been active in the transfer market and it is quite satisfying to see that they have been bringing in experienced players on loan, particularly after I recently mooted that as the way forward for the club.
Grant Holt was the first player to be brought in and if we’re honest he is also the most controversial.

There is understandably some concern at the arrival of a player who isn’t cutting it at Wigan Athletic in the Championship to a struggling Premier League club trying to improve their fortunes. I’m reluctant to immediately side with those decrying this as a poor move for the club but I will happily confess that I’m more than a little wary here. His record this season for Wigan has been, if we’re quite honest, atrocious and it is no surprise that he has been failing to establish himself in the Wigan first team.

On the other hand, his record at Norwich City was far from shabby although much of his time there was spent in tiers below the Premier League. Fifteen in his first season in the Premier League was no small feat but his form dropped in his second Premier League season to a mere eight goals. Perhaps though this drop in form is in part due to the departure of Paul Lambert? Lambert had apparently a great interest in bringing Holt to the club after Lambert made the switch but an angry Norwich City board allegedly blocked any potential move.

Could it be that Lambert has plans to play Holt in a manner that will play to his strengths and yield the appropriate rewards? Only time will tell. Holt has commented that he intends to silence his critics; let’s hope he does make them eat their words.

A much more exciting move is the arrival of Ryan Bertrand from Chelsea. It is no secret to Villa fans, pundits and sadly the opposition that our left wing has been as weak and vulnerable as a ten year old malnourished donkey for some time now. Luna hasn’t been the fix we were hoping for, showing more potential going forward than he has as part of the back-line but never really excelling in either area, save for that one moment against Arsenal on the opening day.

Bertrand on the other hand showed a lot of ability during a prolonged run in the Chelsea first-team last season, although has fallen out of favour with Jose Mourinho during this term. While perhaps not being the most experienced player out there, he has at least proven himself capable of performing at high levels and in theory provides a better option than was previously available to us and possibly even gives us a bit of versatility down the left that suits our counter attacking style. I’m cautiously optimistic.

The remaining issue lies in midfield and our lack of players that can control the ball, hold up play and create opportunities. We need new blood here to take the pressure off our defence and create more chances going forward. The move for Wes Hoolahan looks to be dead in the water and I can’t say I’m surprised since, as we’ve established, Norwich hate us but nor do I think Hoolahan was really likely to be the answer to our prayers.

There’s still some links with Defour but we’ve been linked with him consistently for several years and the current rumour is that he is holding out for a move to Tottenham. If he were to move to Tottenham it may make the futures of Holtby and/or Sigurdsson (players favoured by Chris Heath at VitalVilla) doubtful enough for one or the other to become available on loan and we could do a lot worse than signing either of them but somehow I doubt Paul Lambert is thinking that way.

There’s still a couple of weeks left and I do hope to see Villa making more moves in the market, especially as we have a devastatingly difficult run of games all the way through to March where we simply must begin turning our fortunes around.

I can’t say I’m holding out much hope of a win over Liverpool today as their attacking prowess just seems to be too much for a shaky back line but a combination of new blood and a desire to play like we did for the final fifteen minutes against Arsenal and we can start looking hopefully up the table, instead of warily looking down.

Chris Austin. UTV.

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Posted by upthevilla - 18/01/2014 at 11:48 am

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Transfer view: “This experiment of building the team back up with youth is not working”

The latest post from Up the Villa contributor Chris Austin. You can follow him on twitter here: @TheVacantPage

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry sometimes.

A friend of mine who is a supporter of Sheffield United told me a few days ago that despite Villa’s problems in the league and our recent history of being knocked out of competitions by the likes of Bradford City and Millwall, they couldn’t feasibly see the Blades taking us out of the FA Cup.

And yet, here we are in an all too familiar situation trying to make sense of what just happened. It is bad enough that our home form in the Premier League is so abominable but to be played off the park by an outfit 18th in League One simply is not good enough.

I’m not going to spend pages and pages dissecting everything wrong about Villa’s performance, such as allowing match-winner Flynn chance after chance, doing nothing (again) with the possession we do get and the ridiculous scenario where Benteke, our 6′ 3″ striker takes corners; instead I’m going to take a look at what we can do going forward.

The transfer window is open. If reports are to be believed Lambert will have some funds at his disposal although it is a safe bet that we won’t be seeing a record breaking swoop a la Darren Bent. I think it is time to admit that this experiment of building the team back up with youth simply is not working. It isn’t just this past game, it’s almost every game. Even when we win we look horribly brittle, lacking creativity and seem to just scrape by. Without Vlaar in the team we’re vulnerable and exposed and unfortunately our defensive maestro has been forced to miss a lot of game time.

To put it bluntly, I don’t trust Lambert to spend money wisely. He hasn’t had an insignificant amount of funds made available to him during his tenure and while it may seem that £1m here, £2m there and another £1.5m over there is relatively safe spending, all of these small purchases of large number of players (with the associated contracts) mounts up quite quickly. Lambert has spent more than £20m on players this season and clearly our transfer policy is not working. This lauded young Villa side that was expected to be something special by fans and pundits alike is no better now than it was last season.

We still have the same failings in all areas of the pitch and in some cases we appear to have gone backwards. We lack the ability to control games, we lack the commitment to win the ball and we’re set up to play a style that is risky at best despite having no plan B for when it is no longer viable. We looked strong early on in the season but teams have become aware of our style and are matching it now; Lambert has failed to make those same changes.
So what do we do? Spend another £5m, or whatever we have, on another couple of unproven players from the Croatian third-tier or start to look at more practical expenditure?

It’s a World Cup year which means that many players are desperate to impress so that they can travel to Brazil with their respective national teams and represent their countries on the greatest of all sporting stages. This means that those players not getting games at their clubs could look favourably on a chance to strut their stuff; season changing performances for a club in a precarious position will yield a lot more attention from a national team boss than warming the bench for their current teams.

With players like Joleon Lescott and Jack Rodwell finding themselves in such a position at Manchester City and any other number of players at other clubs throughout Europe also struggling to get the opportunity to prove that they belong in Brazil, the chance is there for us to take a few proven players on loan for the rest of the season and stabilise what is in all honesty not a sinking ship but one where the leaks are threatening to capsize it if left unchecked much longer.

I’m realistic in that Lescott and Rodwell have huge salaries that are unlikely to be met by Aston Villa’s board but they’re far from the only options and taking on loan players has the added advantage of not contracting players to the club long-term where their continued status as an Aston Villa player can prove to be an unwelcome drain on our sparse resources.

Other clubs in our position are reported to be taking serious looks at loan options and there is no reason that we should not. Robbie Keane’s brief spell at Villa during the much loathed Alex McLeish season was a catalyst towards better performances and partly responsible for our survival that year.

Whatever occurs in January, I can’t say I will be excited at the prospect of another unproven, unknown player. We need players with the experience the youngsters do not and players of proven quality who belong in the Premier League. Villa simply cannot keep signing unproven players who are not up to the standard. The club simply is not in a position to accommodate those who are not up to scratch.

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Posted by upthevilla - 05/01/2014 at 11:00 am

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One in, one out?

January is approaching, which means that along with the bringing in of a new year, we also get to see loads of transfer rumours! I love this time of year…..Today we have one linked in, and one linked out, expect these numbers to significantly increase in the coming weeks.

Starting with the player linked in, and Sky Sports are linking us with a move for Belgium international left-back, Sebastian Pocognoli:

….reports in Germany claim a number of Premier League clubs – including Aston Villa and West Ham – are monitoring his situation.

“If he (Pocognoli) comes up with a concrete offer, we will surely look into it,”

Dufner told Bild. “Still he has to signal that to us.

“If he thinks he is in touch with a club that offers him better chances to win a spot in the Belgium World Cup squad, then he should tell us about it!”

Our left-back woes have been documented for a while now, and we’ve never had a dependable player in that position since Lambert has come in. I actually quite like Bennett going forward (said last season I wouldn’t mind him in a left midfield position), but he doesn’t look secure at the back. It’s the same story for Antonio Luna really. Quite adept going forward, but can be made to look foolish at the back, as we saw on Sunday when Manchester United ruthlessly targeted him (to be fair he had little help).

I can’t say I know much about Pocognoli, but if he’s a Belgium, he’s bound to be insanely good (we just need Benteke to remember that!), and personally I’d welcome a new face, even if it means we have a surplus in the position.

On to the player out, and there are rumours that Niklas Helenius could be heading out on a loan move, at least according to his agent:

“Nicklas is at the age where he will have as much time as possible. A rental will not necessarily be a defeat for him if it comes to that.

“The most important thing is that he develops and overlooks the playing time. We are in constant dialogue with Aston Villa, and I expect that we will have a word with them again when the transfer window opens.”

We haven’t really seen enough of him to really discuss him at detail, but I’m always slightly annoyed when a player is brought in, and just not given a chance. Makes no sense to me. I asked a few of you on twitter for your views, and here is what you had to say:

Let us know your thoughts….

UTV.

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Posted by upthevilla - 18/12/2013 at 2:27 pm

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Paul Lambert – What the fans think

I’ve said it for many a year, and I’m sure that many of you have thought the same for many a year, but Aston Villa are a frustrating team. Incredibly, painfully frustrating. This has been the case under a whole host of managers, and shows no sign of easing up in the Paul Lambert era.

We can look world-beaters away, and I wouldn’t trust us to beat anyone at Villa Park. Man United were the visitors on Sunday, and they could have lost 17 in a row and I still wouldn’t have fancied us, they just have our number, and we made them look far better than they have for the majority of the season.

Following this latest defeat at home, I sensed a real feeling of growing scepticism towards our manager, and this was reflected on twitter and facebook. I know these places are notoriously reactionary anyway, but I thought I’d accumulate a couple of views that appeared in the UTV pages on various social network platforms, to get an idea of what some of the Villa faithful are saying. For the record, I think it would be ridiculous to get rid of Paul Lambert, but there is no hiding that we have a large number of shortcomings at the football side at the moment.

Here are a selection of views:

Twitter:



Facebook comments:

Adam: how do you suppose paul lambert can stop the players losing the ball? that’s down to players be careful what you wish for cos we might end up with worse

Taylor: We’d be making a huge mistake if Lambert gets sacked, whether we’re doing as well as we’d like or not, we’re doing far better than we were before he came here

Leigh: If we lose the next 2 games then he has to go

How about you lovely people? Is Paul Lambert the long-term future for Aston Villa?

As per, let us know.

UTV.

18 comments - What do you think?
Posted by upthevilla - 17/12/2013 at 6:53 pm

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