Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Oh, to be a Villa Fan...

Firstly, apologies for the lack of Villa related match reports, it just became difficult to sum up woeful in more than one word. I don't mind the team going out there, fighting hard and coming away with nothing, as that signifies honour, but there is no honour in not fighting at all, a prime example, before taking the lead against Swansea [which was the first time they managed to find the net in the first half all season at home] The last time a goal was scored at Villa park by them, was back in November I believe, in a 2-0 win against Wales' other Premier league side, Cardiff.

For whatever reason, the team is lacking in confidence, and panic easily, and as fans, we haven't always been supportive, but when your team is getting at most 30% of the ball in a game what are we supposed to do? For the most part, I think us the Villa Fans are in this for the long haul, but we are alarmed at how woeful they have been lately. Things have to change, and this is the right time of year to add something new, and slightly abandon the youth policy we have going on. Youth is fine, but with injuries to the experienced players, the young lions look lost and vulnerable.

That said, we can take heart that they didn't lose against Swansea, to remain unbeaten by them in the Premier League, P3 W1 D2 . What the team needs, is a but of steely determination in the midfield, and a slight formation change. It's all well and good playing 4 - 3 - 3 but when one of your strikers has to cover Left Back, then things are never going to go that well.

Winning games against Manchester City [H] and Southampton [A] mask over the real problems, but with 65% possession against Crystal Palace, in a match they lost 0-1 , indicates what exactly we will need to kick on.

1) Experienced CB - Jores Okore looks a really decent buy, but with his ACL injury early in the season, he's not likely to play again until next season, a real shame, and Ron Vlaar is also injured at present, but he should be back within a week or two. The team look confident enough with Vlaar at the back, but another experienced head at the back, can help mentor, or guide Clark and Baker through the season.

2) A Distributor in the Midfield. While Delph and Westwood are good at what they do, they need something different in the midfield who can make that killer pass to open up defences , or can hold the ball up so strikers can find better positions. Also discipline is a slight worry, but like Delph's technical skill, that can only improve with more experience.

3) Ditch the long ball stuff. It is easy to play against Villa, home or away now, as teams are wise to their tendancy to pump it long through the air to the big men up front [Benteke or Kozak] but the team play their best stuff, when Benteke isn't in the lineup and they get the ball to feet and pass and move. After all, that's how they took the lead against Swansea with that exciting style. People say Kozak won't make it, but I'm, fairly sure he will, and if he played together with Benteke, he'd be very effective, as defenders might get confused as to which one to mark, and with Albrighton and a new buy whipping in crosses, the attacking line should be very profitable indeed. If you are going with three up front, I'd modify it so that it's more like an Attacking Midfielder and Benteke + Kozak in there, however, Benteke hasn't been properly fit for months, which begs the question, why was he played so much when he clearly wasn't right ?

4) Do not sack the manager. That seems like a ridiculous thing to have to say, but stick with Lambert, even with this questionable substitutions, but that's part of the job, they work he's a hero, they don't work he's a moron. With more options available, and from the changes he's made, I can understand some of them, but I can't fathom why bringing one someone with 5 minutes to go, to change the game is good. Sometimes, I feel that the changes are a little backwards, in that by all means, bring on some new legs with less than ten minutes remaining, but that's best used for holding a lead. If it's an attacking change, do it no later than 75 minutes. Everything will work out, people are just too impatient, and lets not forget, this was the guy we all wanted from another club. Give him a break.

Hopefully, if just one of these steps is taken from now till the end of the season then it will improve fortunes greatly, and when that questionable substitution works out, the Holte will go crazy for more, but while it's not looking close to being a formula for success, it is easier to criticise than to see the bigger picture. Every manager makes changes that are baffling, it's a learning process for the manager, as well as the XI on the pitch, but in two years, hopefully the nucleus is there to challenge for the right end of the table again.

To sum up, there will be some lows, but as time goes on more highs, and hopefully this will be a side that can stay together for five-eight years, and then slowly bring in the next breed to do exactly the same again.

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