Date:Friday September 7 2012
More than Turning a Corner…
I was asked to do a bit of a guest spot, some of you will recognise me from the days of 606 or some other web site I may have frequented since our untimely removal from the BBC. I still can`t believe they chose to keep Garth Crookes rather than keep "YourSay" open… any way that`s old news..
So for my opening piece I want try and touch all the points I have covered in recent articles for AstonVillaLife… ranging from "Aspiration and Expectation" through to "Panic Stations? Just Calm Down"…
Expectancy / Aspiration = Enjoyment + Success
I am hitting Vital from a fresh perspective, I do read the site, but not obsessively. So rather than cloud my own judgements I thought I`d write this for you without seeing what the general consensus was, perhaps I`ll get hounded off, perhaps I`ll be spouting what`s already being said or just perhaps I`ll be raising a point that hasn`t been mooted. I dunno, lets just suck it and see.
So my first feeling is this. Villans need to separate their expectations and aspirations… I have absolutely no problem with Villans wanting Villa at the top of the league… surely this is what we all want? It is where we have been and surely will be in the future. But at this moment in time, this is a very difficult task. Not Impossible, but highly unlikely. Especially considering this is Lamberts first season, considering the squad has been built by 2 Hoofers and a manager who missed most of his only season. Especially as this squad has been asset stripped by the top clubs…
With this in mind, I encourage all Villans to aspire for the the top, but expect very little… This way you will not be disappointed. This way you will be able to support the club and enjoy it… this is the simple thing that has gone from the stands… enjoyment. Where has the "craic" or the "banter" gone? We as fans rise to ecstasy and sink to depression within a kick of the ball… this isn`t good for our health or more importantly the team on the pitch. Support you club, Enjoy it and have fun with it…
So again people panic and started criticising because Lambert was his own man and didn`t follow the traditional path. 95% of the players he`s bought Villans had never heard of , he`s not bought the much vaunted "Marquee Signing". You know what he`s done he? He`s bought what he knows, not pandered to the press, the so called experts and the knee jerk fans.
For years we complained about MoN buying over priced players from the Premier League and rewarding their averageness with huge long contracts… Yes MoN bought Young, Milner, Downing… but he also bought … No! I`m not going to do that… lol… but the point stands.
I`d been saying for a good while that "Heskey" would need replacing, that Ireland would need not to feel loved, but to feel integral and useful, that the defence would be gotten rid of completely (not just because of ability but attitude too) and that Given would have to settle for a spot on the bench.
Lambert has duly delivered, but I never thought he`d be able to do it in one window with so little money, so to say I`m impressed with this man is an understatement.
However the big job was turning this squad of talented but niave youngsters and experienced hoof merchants in to a cohesive unit that have the ability to use the ball effectively and work hard for each other. For this he needed to instil a "Team Ethic"… there is a reason Collins was pushed toward WHU and Warnock has been removed from the first team . When Dunne comes back we will see what Lambert thinks of his attitude… we`ll soon know as he`ll be with Warnock soon enough.
Yes he`s gone for players from the lower leagues, yes he`s got players from out side of the Premier League. But remember all of these players have game time under their belt… some have Champion League experience, some just have a burning desire to excel and a raw talent that can be moulded.
Moyes has been doing this for years. Forget the "Newcastle" plan… It`s Everton that we should be looking at… or further afield Dortmund in Germany. This is the structure we are building to… but hopefully with an owner willing to put more money in to the set-up we can bypass what Everton and Newcastle have done, whilst maintaining a budget sheet in the black…
SYSTEM and TACTICS
I`ve seen much of this "short pass and move" talk about Lambert, now I understand why people are saying this, because it`s refreshing to see us do it. But sit back and watch the whole game and quickly you`ll see Lamberts game is all about diversity. It`s not an obsession with breaking teams down with small triangles… its about playing the smart ball…about attacking weaknesses… if the smart ball is 30 yards over the defence to the striker than so be it. Lambert wants us to keep the ball but importantly use it effectively as a weapon.
"Stretch teams, move teams and hurt teams with smart use of the ball"
This is where Lambert will probably have been pleasantly surprised when he came… we have that ability in the squad, just not the knowhow or the understanding. Ireland is an instinctive player and naturally picks quality passes, but Bannan has a "Holywood" nature to his game that we will see curtailed. Clark is a ball playing defender. Lichaj loves to raid from Fullback. We have a group of technically proficient but not league hardened talent which need to learn quickly.
"Right ball" at the "right time" and very much suited to the opposition, so some games we`ll be seen hitting longer passes (these are passes not Collins style hoofs in a general direction) others we`ll see us play balls on the floor and run channels to expose lack of pace in teams… The beautiful thing about what Lambert is trying to do is that we`ll have everything in our armoury and with the "team ethic and spirit" we know they team will work hard for each other. People worry about a "No Plan B" because we lack wingers.. it will come very apparent to people that we will have a Plan B, C, D, E without the needs for "wingers"… to change a game you need but change formation and with a fluid clever team and Lamberts sharp mind we`ll be doing that.
The squad now has a consistency and depth to it… players will be on their toes knowing they could be out of the team as quick as they get in it if they don`t perform. This will only be added to in January when I think we`ll finally start to see what Lambert his aiming for, Newcastle was a big step forward but don`t be surprised if there is a small step back as Lambert looks in implement more ideas in to the team…
This season is all about performance and gelling. It should not be judged on League Position. What we should be looking for as Villans is a "team" and proper team on the pitch… 11 players pulling the same way… everything they done being for the greater good of the TEAM… this is the aim, of the season, a culture of "team" being born and a intelligence of play… add that to Lamberts clear tactical excellence add we`re on a winner… This is just the foundation stone being put down… Be excited by it, but be realistic and show patience and support…
Liken what Lambert is doing to taking a Rugby League Team and dropping them in to Rugby Union, the basics of the game are the same…
I hope you enjoyed my first effort, even if it was on a little on the long side.....
Date:Friday September 7 2012
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