Ditch Ireland, Back Lambo, Up The Villa

It was a shocking result against Villa, but we need to keep it in perspective. We've got a good manager and are moving in the right direction...
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It was a shocking result against Villa, but we need to keep it in perspective. We've got a good manager and are moving in the right direction...

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This 15-0 festive week has been one to forget, it was like every Aston Villa fan in the land had a wrapped up turd to open on Christmas day. Losing against the big boys is one thing but against Wigan Athletic at home, which by the way we've done before with a lot better team, is hard to take.

When the team sheets came out yesterday I did not think we would win, it was like the reserve reserves team for the Villa. Our defence was without our captain Ron Vlaar, veteran Richard Dunne and the ever improving Nathan Baker. And it showed. We like our central defenders down the Villa, we have had a great tradition of them throughout the years. We venerate them more than any other club. Most of our folklore heroes are defenders. Ken McNaught, Paul McGrath, Olaf Mellberg and Martin Laursen became heroes at our club because of their brilliance and because Villa fans love top class defending.

But there was none of that yesterday, it was keystone cops stuff by youngsters being played out of position. It did not take a genius to work out we would be vulnerable at the back, especially after shipping 12 goals in the previous week.

But our midfield as well as the defence seemed lost. The senior professional big money/big wages player on the pitch for the Villa yesterday was Stephen Ireland, who at times looks like your backwards uncle being allowed to play with the kids during a Summer kick about. He gave the ball away constantly before eventually deciding to try and grab the game by the scruff of the neck before half time.
And then the team seemed to have a good spell in which we should have scored. But a midfield with both Banan and Ireland is too lightweight and sadly wasteful because both seem to try Hollywood balls which end up either in the stands or at an opposition defender's feet.

You can rely on Fabian Delph to be suspended during an injury crisis. He has not exactly set the world on fire at the Villa, especially as he was supposed to be the next big thing when we prised him from Leeds. But I like his bite and thought we could have done with him yesterday, it is a crying shame Gary Gardner is out for the season because he would have had the chance this year to stake his claim in the team.

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I do worry about the treatment room at the Villa, it is like a free whorehouse, men seem to go in there and never come out. Richard Dunne was only supposed to miss the first few games at the start of the season and still has not laced his boots in anger this campaign.

When Ron Vlaar limped off against Arsenal in November with a calf strain he was only expected to be out for a game and we have not seen hide nor hare of him since.

The Zog seems to have a season ticket in the treatment room and now Gabby has joined Darren Bent in being unavailable until next year. If those three were fit and on form then the threat of relegation would surely be negligible. However, what is the betting, if we do manage to get past Bradford, who rightly will fancy their chances, in the cup, that all three will be miraculously fit for a game at Wembley.

This week will hopefully be the low point of Lambert's tenure at the Villa, we need to put it behind us, blame it on injuries, blame it on the boogie, blame it on anything but we need to move on.

Who knows, Mr Lerner might even open his wallet to bring some players to carry on the Lambert project. For me our dour Scotsman is still the man for the job and after this week our young team might respond to the humiliation and realise there is another side to football than free Nandos and roasting birds from Twitter.

As a Villa fan I'll be happy to see the back of 2013, but despite the recent drubbings I know we are heading in the right direction because this time last year even going the game was a chore under the nightmare which was the McLeish regime. We just have to be patient.

Up the Villa.