Aston Villa Focus – Southampton defeat plunges Villa into bottom three

Many Villa fans were hoping that a New Year would help to bring a change of fortunes to their beloved club, but so far all it has brought is yet more disappointment. Losing the midweek game against Bradford City, a team that sits three divisions below them. The loss against Southampton suffered on Saturday was more than embarrassing, it was very worrying for the future of the club.

After losing 3-0 at home to fellow relegation candidates Wigan just a few weeks ago, Villa seemed to have learnt nothing during the weeks that have followed, and once more could not even achieve a point at home to a team in a similar position to themselves. It was Villa manager Paul Lambert’s namesake that scored the winner for Southampton, as Rickie Lambert tucked away a controversial penalty in the first half. Villa improved in the second, but Southampton held firm and deserved to walk away from Villa Park with the three points. 

The result left Villa in the relegation zone for only the second time in the season, and with only one point gained in their last five Premier League fixtures. With such a young squad, not much finance to improve the team in January, and a manager that looks clueless on how to fix Villa’s defensive frailties, 2013 looks set to be another bleak year for the Midlands club. Manager Paul Lambert was full of praise for his side after the match despite the loss and blamed a lack of luck on his side’s current position in the league. It is true that the penalty given against Aston Villa was in no way a foul, but Lambert failed to notice that Villa could have cleared the ball on countless occasions leading up to the penalty decision, but due to a lack of composure and confidence they failed to do so.

Current club captain Ron Vlaar was back on the bench against The Saints on Saturday, and his return in central defence will be a huge boost. Villa are most certainly lacking any physical presence and leadership in the heart of their team, and “concrete Ron”, as he has been nicknamed by the fans, will certainly provide that. Villa will also need a natural defensive-midfielder who can put a tackle in and also provide some steel in the centre of the park if they are to stay in the division. An accomplished full back will also be needed, but with a lack of funds once more at the club, finding these players may well be a problem for the former Norwich boss.

A football pundit once stated that “you cant win anything with kids,” a statement which was proven false as the Manchester United team he was commenting on went on to win the league title that same year. That same pundit stated on Saturday that if Paul Lambert does not bring in experience to his frail defence, then “they will be goners.” Unfortunately for Villa, it is certainly much harder to see that statement being proven false this time around. 

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