Aston Villa Focus – Lessons not learned by Lambert’s youngsters

Aston Villa prepared to face Tottenham on Boxing Day aiming to write the wrongs of their humiliating defeat away to Chelsea the weekend prior, but unfortunately that was not to be the case. A 4-0 loss to Spurs once again flattered Villa, just like the 8-0 scoreline against Chelsea had just days before.

Tottenham were the much better side throughout, unlucky not to score four or five in the first-half as well as the four goals they got in the second 45 minutes. It was a tough result to take for Paul Lambert, but if Villa continue to play as poorly in their upcoming fixtures, there will be plenty more bad results to come.

The unbeaten run that Villa had found themselves on before the Chelsea match, culminating in the very impressive 3-1 success at Anfield, seems a long, distant memory to most Villa fans now, and will almost certainly to their young team too.

This may be the first time some of these young players have been on the receiving end of a beating like the one suffered against Rafael Benitez’s side, and their woeful performance against Spurs has shown that their confidence suffered a huge blow. It will be up to under-fire manager Lambert to rebuild that shattered confidence, but he was in defiant mood as always following the second heavy defeat suffered in the space of four days:

Whether we win, lose or draw, we always try to treat the players the same way and try to keep their spirits the same,” Lambert told the Daily Mail. “One thing in football is that you can’t dwell on it and you have to recover – there is no other way.

Villa will certainly need to recover quickly, as the fixtures are thick and fast around the busy Christmas and New Year schedule. They face Wigan Athletic on Saturday, just three days on from their poor display against Tottenham, and less than a week from their heaviest ever Premier League loss against Chelsea.

It is being billed as a six pointer for both clubs due to their poor league positions near the foot of the table, but a win for Villa could once more propel them to just a few points off a mid-table position. Villa have shown nothing like the form needed to gain a victory in recent matches though, and a change of system and players may be needed if they are to achieve success against a struggling Wigan side.

The 3-5-2 formation that had served Lambert well in recent weeks has been torn apart by the two London clubs in the last five days, with defenders looking out of sorts and midfielders not knowing who they need to pick up when defending. This has lead to opposition midfielders having plenty of time and space in attacking areas, and it was no coincidence that some of the best performers against Aston Villa in these two matches have been attacking midfielders.

Aston Villa looked to be on the up after a successful cup run and an Anfield win, but successive defeats have once more placed them just above the relegation zone. January will be an important month for Villa, as some Premier League experience is desperately needed to help guide the current Villa youngsters through these tough periods.

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