Aston Villa: Have the Villa turned the corner?
The first two games for Aston Villa could not have gone much worse after all the hype of a new manager and a new beginning. Anyone who was at the home game against Everton will tell you it was demoralising in the extreme.
It wasn’t because Villa lost – something we’ve become accustomed to at Villa Park – it was the manner it occurred.
Everton absolutely ransacked us and could have scored even more than the three they scored with embarrassing ease in the first half. Villa manager Paul Lambert said he couldn’t knock the players’ effort, which was a fair comment, but the fact the team had given it their all and still came up so short was very worrying.
The opening game of the season saw Villa enjoy a lot of possession against West Ham but create very little. It has been clear from the very beginning Lambert has a game plan, which he is going to stick to, a lot like former manager Gerard Houllier did when he first arrived. Lambert is also prepared to drop players who have not performed - Shay Given making way for Brad Guzan being a prime example.
It’s all well and good having a master plan, but executing it is another thing. But then there was the League Cup win against Tranmere Rovers last Tuesday and a first point of the season against Newcastle United on Sunday. Nothing much can be read into Villa beating a League One side but it would also have been a huge disappointment had they lost.
Stranger things have happened so the fact Lambert put out a reasonably strong side and made sure the team were ready to win speaks volumes for him. Alan Pardew immediately said his Newcastle side had had an off day against Villa over the weekend but I believe he was ruffled by their performance.
That’s not to say it was perfect or anything to get overly excited about but
the fact Lambert has brought in so many inexperienced players and was still
able to craft a side capable of causing one of last season’s most improved
sides so several headaches has to bode well for the rest of the season.
It was far too early to write Villa off after two games and so it is also far
too early to say picking up one point is enough to say the side has turned the
Villa, however, still have a few senior players to come back from injury and although none are expected to set any game alight it will be good to see Lambert have more resources to call on.
He clearly likes to rotate his squad and has made several changes for each game. Whether that will inspire or annoy the players remains to be seen. One thing that is for sure is Lambert knows his own mind, he had a plan in place and he will execute it his way regardless of how the players feel.
A cup win and a draw away to Newcastle has certainly made me feel better about the new campaign but there are still so many games ahead it’s difficult to see how the season is going to pan out.
There’s now an international break, which will give the side more time to
How we perform in our next game against a constantly improving Swansea City side, at home, will perhaps tell us more about how rest of the season will pan out.
Calling all Villa fans: How do you feel after the past two games? Are you, like James, feeling more optimistic of the future or do you still think Lambert has a massive job on his hands? Whatever your view, we'd love to hear from you.
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