Grizzly: Fulham Home
I've been saying it all week. Fulham have a -27GD on the road overall and -42GD overall. If we can't beat these then Lambert should be fired by cannon into a primordial swamp. He should then be bombarded with solar radiation until he mutates into an actual manager capable of setting up a team to beat a Fulham side with a -27GD on the road and a -42GD overall.
I don't have any fears of relegation given the dreadful fixtures awaiting both Sunderland and Norwich. I think the final relegation place will be between Fulham and Norwich, who play each other next week. Still, this season has been a disaster both on and off the field at Villa Park, hasn't it? Added to the continuing absence of the much lauded Jores Okore 7m rated Libor Kozak and long lost friend Charles N'Zogbia, is the talismanic Christian Benteke, now out with a torn Achilles heel, one of thee worst injuries in modern football. A clean break of the ankle would have been better. Just ask N'Zogbia, who has been out for 9 months with the same injury. If he's back before Christmas we will be lucky. It's awful news for Christian and the club. We wish him all the best in his recovery.
That is not the end of this afternoons doom roster. Local boy Agbonlahor is out with a bug, along with engine house El Ahmadi who has not recovered from the thigh strain he picked up against Stoke. Delph is also out. The bare bones then.
Into this mix step Fulham with their away sell out and their much rated demon headmaster, Felix Magath. Fulham played very well against Everton last week and do not look like a team at the bottom of the table. Let's hope that Lambert counters this with the hunger of academy youth, giving Callum Robinson and Daniel Johnson game time. If ever there was a time for youth promotion it is now.
When team news comes in on Twatter we are on the train to Aston. Collective sighs around the carriage. Holt is in, as is Bennett, Albrighton and Baker. The formation is hard to guess. It looks like a 4-4-2 or is it 4-3-3? Bennett at LB with Bertrand at LM with Albrighton at RM and Lowton at RB. Bacuna at CM with Westwood?When we take out seats and the teams set up it's hard to work out. There's a gulf of space between Baker and Vlaar. Could be 2 at the back or is it 3 at the back with Bennet pushing up? Either way it's a mess with players out of their natural position. This begs a question: are our champions League winning U21's, part of our award winning top rated academy, not good enough to fill in for a game? Really Paul. What message does this send to Daniel Johnson and Callum Robinson who have only made the bench?
Man in the middle Michael Oliver checks his watch and we are under way. Come on you Villa boys!
Words almost fail me so this will be short. Awful defending for the second goal. For the umpteenth game in a row the ball is in the air for aeons, there is no touch tight marking in the box, no headed clearance, allowing Holtby to knock it across for Rodallega. The same mistake again and again, with players confused and in unnatural positions. How many times must we do this? Where is the corrective work at Bodymoor Heath? Lambert can complain all he wants but it is his responsibility to ensure that we at least do the basic things right. Can you imagine a Tony Pulis team doing this - failing to clear an aerial ball that has spent ten years sailing through the football clouds?
Grant Holt, pilloried by Villa fans prior to his start was, along with Albrighton, excellent. Not bad a for an on loan championship pie man. A completely professional, committed display from an experienced pro. Sign him up.
Weimann ran round like a headless chicken and Nathan Baker was confused as to what team he was playing for. Best goal line clearance ever from Matthew Lowton. Lambert then did his best to muck it up further with some woeful substitutions. The cheap additions of Tonev and Bowery are apparently better than any of our academy players. At full time, Aston Villa 1-2 Team with a now -41GD.
I can't even console myself with a pint anymore. It's soda water for me. And what a sad, miserable glass of soda water it is. Their is an air of disbelief in here, with myself and Button checking the upcoming fixtures of the bottom four clubs. We think we're pretty much safe but still, what an awful end to a difficult, injury ravaged season. No progress here. In fact, looking worse than last year at the moment with Paul Lambert having taken the record for the most defeats in a season. A look up on the big screen tells me that Palace have thumped trap-door bound Cardiff 3-0.
Boy, am I going to need all my energy for our trip next week; all my heart and song yet at the moment I'm close to a tear or two, soppy dieting bugger that I am. You win Paul, we are truly dreadful.
See you all at Palace. UTV
Room for (lots of) improvement: Baker