The Week In Villa (25)
Wednesday, 16th January
Not much to talk about today. A video of John Gregory performing Springsteen's 'No Surrender', and dedicating it to Stan Petrov, is shown on the internet; oh and John Carew is now an actor apparently. I think I'd rather talk about that than anything currently going on at the club, as both of those things made me smile.
Thursday, 17th January
Ben Foster says that winning the League Cup relegated Blues and so we should be wary.
No Ben, no it didn't. If that is the level of your intelligence, then just stick to goalkeeping, leave things like speaking in public and giving opinions to others.
Birmingham City got relegated because of poor management(McLeish), poor performances and injuries to key players; in the face of such adversity, they were just not good enough. The League Cup - which they won IN FEBRUARY, when they were out of the relegation zone - was not responsible for them sliding out of the trap door in May, and any suggestion otherwise is beyond idiotic.
Should Aston Villa get relegated this season, it will be down to the increasingly bizarre and worrying decisions made by Paul Lambert (including a lack of transfer action in January), the lack of quality and fight in the majority of the players and the lack of leadership from Randy Lerner and downwards throughout the club. Oh and possibly even more injury problems.
Frankly, anyone thinking that winning the League Cup will get us relegated is, as far as I can see, using it as a fairytale to help them sleep on Tuesday night should things go wrong.
Friday, 18th January
All attention is on the game against the Albion tomorrow. For the first time in my memory, I think it means more to us because of the position we are in. West Bromwich Albion supporters and their ongoing obsession with Aston Villa is sad though. Incredibly sad indeed.
Saturday, 19th January
Just like Swansea a couple of weeks ago, I suppose I can console myself with, 'Well I would have taken a draw to begin with', but frankly, (much like failing to clear your lines in injury time as at Swansea) once you're 2-0 up, not winning the game is a) a bitter pill to swallow; and b) simply not good enough.
We knew they were going to go for it in the second half; we didn't have the character or ability to deal with it. That applies to the manager and coaching staff as well as the player. Cowardly performances all round in the second half, tactically and individually.
The only real plus sides were the very good goals from Benteke and Agbonlahor, who both played well, and the form of N'Zogbia, who looked like that bloke who tore us a new one on a few occasions for Wigan. I have slagged him off often enough so credit where it's due; every time he got the ball it felt like something was going to happen.
Sunday, 20th January
It's a day of 'mixed emotions' about yesterday. It's cold, and I'm going back to bed.
Monday, 21st January
Bradford tomorrow. 'ATTACK' is the plan. The general consensus seems to be that Bradford are favourites to go through still and, as I alluded to last week, I concur with such a sentiment. Tranmere repeat? Not one player in this team would get close to getting in that team. Guzan is a very good goalkeeper, but better than Bosnich or Spink? Benteke may turn out to be better than both but right now, better than Saunders or Atkinson at their best? Or a young Dwight Yorke?
And they are the best we have to offer, so don't even consider comparing Vlaar/Clark to McGrath/Teale; Bennett to Staunton, Bannan/Delph to Richardson/Townsend, and so on.
Nope, this team is nothing like the '94 side. Hell, it's not even as good as that pile of garbage that Dolly had in 05-06.
Tuesday, 20th January
I have little to add that won't already have been said, so I will just bullet point this:
1) Six months is long enough to get defending set-pieces organised.
2) Going with a narrow 4-man front-line and no wide players would be idiotic at schoolgirl level; that is the worst tactical performance I have seen by any Aston Villa manager, and that includes Alex McLeish believing that playing Alan Hutton at right midfield was an acceptable decision.
3) The defence IS better with Ron Vlaar in it but, while he is undoubtedly a likeable character, he's still not actually particularly good. The new Martin Laursen? Do me a favour.
4) I felt physically sick when I saw Stephen Ireland and Barry Bannan were both in the team, and neither did a damn thing to prove me wrong. Not a damn thing.
5) Sadly, on point 4), without KAE or Westwood, we had little choice. Don't worry about it though Lambo, the squad is fine as it is. Sure.
6) We had two games to beat a League Two side, and failed. It wasn't surprising that we failed. That's what's more infuriating, hate-filling, disappointing, and heart-wrenching than the incident itself. Not even slightly surprised at anything that went on.
7) Paul Lambert won't offer to resign nor will he be sacked. In all fairness, I don't have an immediate answer to who should replace him (I have suggestions but there are impracticalities) however, how his position is not under threat is beyond me. I can accept a bad run - I saw them under Big Ron and Brian Little and they both achieved more than any manager since - but we are breaking all sorts of bad records, just like McLeish did. For a year and a half, I have witnessed spineless performances, unjustifiable decisions and a very low standard of football.
At what point is enough actually enough? Because I will tell you right now, Aston Villa is on its knees, and I don't see an answer to solve it. All I see is a continued decline, with us dropping out the league.