Aston Villa slumped to another defeat this weekend, and many have called for Paul Lambert to be sacked. Cian Dalton discusses.
The statistics are piling up against Aston Villa and Paul Lambert. It was recently reported that Cristiano Ronaldo had scored twenty times for Real Madrid since Villa last scored in their 1-0 victory over Liverpool. Of course that changed on Sunday after they went 1-0 up against Tottenham.
As the Villains looked set to claim their first victory and points since September 13th it all inevitably went pear shaped. Christian Benteke was sent off in the sixty-sixth minute, leaving his team to play the rest of the match with ten men. To be fair to Lambert’s charges, they held on until the 84th minute when Nacer Chadli scored.
It was heartbreak for Villa when Harry Kane scored with a deflected free-kick in the 90th minute. After holding on to a 1-0 lead thanks to Andreas Weimann in the 16th minute for the majority of the match it was a cruel blow to Lambert and co. as they lost in the final stages of the match.
It has been undeniably frustrating for Aston Villa so far this season. After an impressive start to the season which was capped with a rare 1-0 win over Liverpool, they have failed to win a game since, following a string of tough fixtures. They even failed to pick up any points against QPR, losing 2-0 to Harry Redknapp’s side in agame they would have been expected to win.
Villa have been fighting for points for a number of seasons and Gabriel Agbonlahor has put it down to the team having to improve slowly each season due to the influx of cash into other clubs in the league. It is hard for Villa to compete with the top of the table clubs when they can spend exorbitant amounts all summer. However, to not score for five games on the trot displays their lack of confidence and more importantly, luck.
Of course it is not ideal to not score for well over a month in the Premier League but luck has played a big part in Villa’s season so far. After the impressive win over Liverpool, they were faced with Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton. Anything can happen on match day but with this caliber of opponents to play against each week, it was not good news for Lambert’s men.
A loss to QPR was not part of the script and subsequently, a win was a must against Spurs. However, luck played its part again. Jan Vertonghen was lucky to stay on the pitch after a two-footed tackle, Ryan Mason was even luckier following his part in the ugly scenes that led to Christian Benteke’s dismissal, and finally, the luckiest of deflections sent Harry Kane’s free-kick powering past Brad Guzan into the net.
Lambert will probably stay put for quite some time after signing a four-year contract extension in September, despite fans calling for his dismissal. However, with Benteke suspended for the next three games against an on-form West Ham, a superb Southampton team and a Burnley side that will be fighting for points all the way through this season, there will be a lack of potency up front for Villa.
After recently returning from a long-term achilles injury that ruled him out of the World Cup and the start of Villa’s season, Villa need Benteke now more than ever. It will be interesting to see how Lambert deals with the current situation and the next three important games for his side.
Cian Dalton, Pundit Arena.