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Friday, 08 November 2013

How crucial are the next few games for Aston Villa's season?

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Football fans are the first to admit they can jump the gun a bit when things start looking bad, but the points Villa get over their next few games could have a huge bearing on how our season pans out.

No-one can argue Villa’s home form has been pretty dire under manager Paul Lambert and he deserves to know when the fans aren’t happy, but let’s just see how we do in the next few games because that run of fixtures is vital.

Another defeat at home against Everton made it four defeats in five games at Villa Park this season and already there were some rumblings of discontent from sections of the home fans.

Perhaps surprisingly Villa were four points better off than they were at the same time last season following that defeat and that’s having played Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Man City and Everton. They followed that result up with another hard fought, but uninspiring, 0-0 draw away to West Ham on Saturday.

Villa v whamVilla now face Cardiff at home this Saturday, West Brom away on November 25, Sunderland at home on November 31, Southampton away on December 4 and then Fulham away on December 8.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out a run of good results over the next few games could see us rocket up the league and even into the respectability of the top half of the table.

But if we lose a few we’ll be worrying about yet another relegation battle even at this early stage of the season.

West Brom still look a good side and have already proved last season was no fluke so getting a draw at The Hawthorns would be a great result.

How Sunderland will play from game-to-game is pretty much anyone’s guess, including their manager’s, but Gus Poyet could still prove to be a great appointment so they could pose a real problem at Villa Park. Having said that, anything less than a win would be a poor result.

Southampton are also flying so getting something at St Mary’s will be another huge challenge. Villa still looks a force to be reckoned with away from home so if we can go into that match with a bit of confidence we could steal at least a point – but if we sit back all game we’ll get hammered.

Fulham didn’t start that well but were still playing some decent stuff so it wasn’t all that surprising when things started to pick up – two goal of the season contenders in one game will do that for you. Martin Jol was adamant his side was playing some good football so it would only be a matter of time before results started going their way. Lambert has being saying similar things in the media in recent weeks, but Villa fans are less than convinced by his words at the moment.

All those results, however, will depend a lot on how Villa approach the game against Cardiff this weekend. If we lose it will mean five defeats in six home games already this season. Defeat, however, would not be the worst case scenario – that would be if we lost without dominating the game at home.

Villa just can’t stamp their authority on games for long durations at home anymore, which has as much to do with the talent at the manager’s disposal as it is to do with the tactics.

There will be no excuses for not dominating against Cardiff so all Villa fans will be looking for a positive three points from that game.

Saturday’s game is the start of run of games that could make or break Villa before an even more hectic Christmas schedule – and we all know what happened to Villa over the festive period last year.

It’s not time for doom and gloom just yet but we need to pick up a decent number of points from our next five games.

Villa have been pretty boring to watch at home and that's not necessarily having a go at the team because we have played some top sides, but it gets more and more difficult to see the positives as the games go on. 

Lambert should definitely be supported but we need to find a way of attacking teams at home. If we can get some confidence at Villa Park it could completely change the direction of the season.

The next few games coming up will be absolutely crucial for how our season turns out but it's still early days so let's wait and see.

Calling all Villa fans: Are you starting to lose faith in Lambert? How many points do you think you can pick up from your next five games? Do you think Villa can move away from talk of the drop? Whatever your view, we'd love to hear from you.

Article by James Fisher

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