The season is now at half-way and that hope that was spread throughout the Villa faithful has now all but evaporated. With only four wins in the league all season, amassing just 19 points and having the dismal record of being the joint-lowest goal scorers with just 17 goals, it has been the Capital One Cup run that has saved the fans from turning on Paul Lambert.
Villa have scored almost as many goals in the cup this season than they have in the entirety of their Premier League campaign, so a trip away to struggling League 2 opposition looked set to be another welcome distraction from yet another dismal league campaign. 3-1 was the final score line, and it was David who would slay Goliath once more in this nightmare. Bradford did not win the game by chance, they did not even need to play that well. Villa’s defending has been atrocious ever since their opening home fixture of the season against Everton, and Bradford took full advantage of that, scoring three very simple goals from set pieces. Villa were clueless in defence from start to finish, and the score line could have been worse as Bradford came close several times to extending that lead.
After the match Bradford manager Phil Parkinson stated that the 3-1 victory was the best he had ever seen from his team, eclipsing their quarter final triumph against Arsenal on penalties. In reality, he would have faced much tougher opposition on several occasions in his own division, as Villa’s lack of talent and defensive naivety cost them dear once more. After the game Villa fans began to turn on Lambert, with radio phone-ins and internet sites full of criticism for both himself and the chairman Randy Lerner for not strengthening the squad in the summer. The summer cheer has turned into winter blues, and it is hard to see what can be changed to turn around this free-falling club.
There is only one man that can be blamed for this current situation, and it is not former manager McLeish, which several Villa fans still believe it is. Paul Lambert brought in seven players in the summer. The outlay spent on these players in signing on fees and transfer fees was almost £20 million, much more than several other clubs in the Premier League. Several of his signings have not paid off, with players such as Karim El-Ahmadi, Joe Bennett and Ashley Westwood being dropped from the team almost as quickly as they had been brought in.
It is now January, and Lambert will have a second chance to improve on his poor decisions he made in the summer as the transfer window is in full swing. The first 10 days have come and gone, and no bids have been tabled for any player. Lambert needs to make his move soon; otherwise with the current squad struggling from a lack of depth and quality, this team looks almost certain for relegation.
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