Villa 1 – 2 Chelsea: Lambert so nearly got it right today.

I’ve often espoused the theory that Gabby should be dropped and Benteke pulled off, to be replaced by Gabby if things aren’t working, so we can use Gabby’s pace against a tiring defence.
Lambert tried it today, but got it totally the wrong way round, in dropping Benteke.
There’s been some debate about Benteke lately and it’s been about if he’s been getting adequate service as opposed to if he’s trying.
Either way, he’s been ineffective of late, so I can see where Lambert was coming from.

Staying with the substitutions, I also think we were too reliant on play down the right hand side, with very little going on down the left.
Lambert again made the right call, in bringing Sinclair on, to offer us something different. The fact that it didn’t work is a shame, but when I’ve slated Lambert plenty, I think it’s only fair to say when I think he called it correctly.
The Cole sub, for Weimann, made sense too.

Would it be correct to say we played a 4-5-1?
I certainly thought that was the formation we played mostly in the game, but I suppose you could call it a 4-3-3 , especially early on.

Whatever, I thought the first half was pretty poor.
We were being dominated by a Chelsea side that, let us not forget, are probably going to win the league.
Nothing unusual there and it was the same old story, where while we got some crosses in, they were mostly poor and the closest we came was an off-target header from Weimman.

Chelsea’s goal on 7 minutes was a poor one from our point of view.
We didn’t pick up Willian at all and Hutton failed to track Hazard’s run.
Fair play though, it was a well made and executed goal. Hence we went in one down at half time.
I don’t know, but I got the feeling Chelsea could easily have stepped up a gear.

Then I don’t know what was said at half time, but Villa came out a different side.
We looked confident from the off and created more chances in the first three or four minutes than we had in the whole first half.
The pressure paid off and after super work from Gil (who moved the ball so fast between his two feet that I’m still not sure what happened), Oscar was made to look a total mug and the ball was put in the box for Okore to head in.
Hoo bloody ray. We got the goal we’ve been waiting so long for.

And then, for a while, I thought we looked the better side, where we were creating and getting decent balls in the box.

It wasn’t to last though and I thought Chelsea stepped it up. No surprise again and it demonstrates the gulf in class, as they had the likes of Remy and Cuadrado to bring on.
At the same time, Lambert subbed Gabby and brought Benteke on.
And sod’s law, the balls going into the box ceased.

Their second goal came courtesy of some poor defending again, which I won’t go into, as I thought Clark especially and Okore weren’t terrible today.

And then after around eighty minutes, the game petered out, simple as.

A few points;
I thought Delph and Cleverley were shocking in the first half, but looked much better in the second.
I’m not sure what caused the difference?

Gil looks the real business. He’s the bloke who can get you off your seat, who we’ve been craving for, isn’t he?
That said, I believe he was at fault for their second, but I’m not going to hold that against him. He isn’t a defender.

It’s great that we scored, but it wasn’t a striker who ended our shocking run of no goals.

Still, losing 1-2 to Chelsea is by no means a disgrace and we shouldn’t be too downhearted.
Many expected a battering today, but the fact is it didn’t happen.
While I expected a loss and it’s always disappointing to lose at home, at least we didn’t look the total shambles we did last week.

Hull up next and I’m hoping the lads will have come out of today’s game at least encouraged.


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  1. Guest
    Guest February 9, 2015 at 5:55 pm . Reply

    This is what Lambert has to say about Cleverly:

    “Tom is one of these guys who never hides from the ball. I never criticise anybody for looking for the ball if they make a mistake.

    “As long as you don’t hide – and Tom never hides.

    “He gives it everything he has got, everything to try and do well. He wants to do well here and sometimes that is part and parcel of football. It is not nice to hear.

    “There was a wee spell where he had one or two he gave way in quick sucession; other than that he had a decent game especially in the second half.

    “Tom has played in massive games, he is no novice. Confidence goes when you don’t want to take the ball.

    “He has got confidence, it is nothing to do with hiding from the ball, the boy takes the ball and gives everything he has got.

    “I don’t think it is that. he may be trying too hard which can go against you. He keeps on going with the ball and that is a big testament for him that he keeps doing it.

    “He did ok on Saturday.”


    Typical british manager, loves a grafter with no skill or flair whatsoever.

    1. nath
      nath February 9, 2015 at 6:39 pm . Reply

      tom cleverley is a decent player, remember our squad is really good. damn shame we couldn’t clone him and have a team full of him

  2. nath
    nath February 9, 2015 at 6:34 pm . Reply

    if now your saying lamberts the reason we’re shit, because he can’t manage the team he assembled on shoestring budgets. isn’t it randy’s fault for first hiring him and second for not sacking him.

    anyways bored of this chicken and egg, we’re shit because the guy at the top has starved the manager of funds to improve the squad, hes also cut wage budgets, so no decent established players will touch us. i agree new manger would help 2 get a little more out of the squad, but this won’t happen cos no new manager wants to take the job full stop.

    1. Sammy Morgans Jockstrap
      Sammy Morgans Jockstrap February 9, 2015 at 7:19 pm . Reply

      Nath, Not sure what chickens and eggs have to do with it, unless you’re referring to the bizarre quote from Lambert, about Grealish tweeting about boiling an egg.

      The reality is that Lerner has cut back on spending in the transfer market, which prevents Villa challenging for Europe. That said, the squad that Lambert has assembled is not a bad squad, but the management decisions on tactics and formation have been mind-boggling and bizarre.

      Yes we could be challenging for Europe again (where we were when O’Neill left) with more investment from Lerner, but on the other hand we should be competing in mid-table with the players we currently have if the manager has a clue what he is doing.

      Does that clarify it for you?

      1. nath
        nath February 9, 2015 at 7:39 pm . Reply

        damn shame Statler and Waldorf have gone, i was learning where our club had gone wrong.
        today i learned, our squads decent and big sam or pardew could improve us only aren’t they happy with another club. the formation villa play is not dis similar to all, lets say west ham play similar formation, using not wingers but full backs as width. gabby and weimann aren’t playing as wingers at all

        other managers play players out of position lets say chelsea, half their team, players are out of their natural positions,

        what needs clarifying is how some ppl slate lambert for being useless and with good reason when you consider the bad records he breaks week in and out, then say in same breathe how well hes done on a limited budget. correct me if i go wrong here, as i seem to have loads today, but doesn’t lerner sack and hire who he wants, so in my opinion hes the man to blame, if we had a poll, i think 90% would put the blame at lerners door we were shit before lambert before mcliesh etc etc

  3. BWS
    BWS February 9, 2015 at 7:23 pm . Reply

    Sorry Guest, Andrew but Nath is bang on the money imo, All Roads Lead to Lerner.
    Yea Lambert’s shite but what other manager would want the job given the financial restraints?
    Pulis was Lerner’s get out of jail card, works on a budget, gets the best out of a shower, does what it says on the tin but that ship has sailed , we’re stuck with Lambert and Lerner’s self imposed austerity and now it’s all in the lap of the football gods.

    1. nath
      nath February 9, 2015 at 7:50 pm . Reply

      exactly bws pulis was free man no compensation. sacking lambert to hire a proven manager was the bright thing to baggies stole a guaranteed get out of jail card. every decision lerners made has ended with us, here up to our necks deep in the shit

      say lambert fails tomorrow and lerner’s finally had enough who is left to turn too ???? with our decent squad

      1. Bum Bum
        Bum Bum February 9, 2015 at 9:11 pm . Reply

        Rumour he’s got Cappello lined up…

        1. Bum Bum
          Bum Bum February 9, 2015 at 9:15 pm . Reply

          …as the new chef at the avfc restaurant…

          1. BWS
            BWS February 9, 2015 at 9:28 pm . Reply

            Oh you meant Giovanni Cappell the patisserie chef.

        2. BWS
          BWS February 9, 2015 at 9:17 pm . Reply

          I heard Trapattoni’s just handed his notice in at Vatican City… read into that what you like.

          1. Bum Bum
            Bum Bum February 9, 2015 at 9:28 pm . Reply

            That’s the comme chef sorted!!!

    2. Andrew
      Andrew February 9, 2015 at 8:35 pm . Reply

      Most managers in fact would like 15-20m a year to spend and sell absolutely no one they feel like using. Not many manager’s get the backing Lambert has and not many are given such leeway from their owner.

      1. BWS
        BWS February 9, 2015 at 9:02 pm . Reply

        Your cooking them books a bit son, follow this link makes your figures look a bit fantasy island.

        1. nath
          nath February 9, 2015 at 9:13 pm . Reply

          thank you bws 5 .9 mill big difference from the 20 andrew claimed,

        2. Andrew
          Andrew February 9, 2015 at 9:22 pm . Reply

          I do remember claiming a year, not a window. I’m sorry, you’re right. 1 year he didn’t get that money. My bad. Although what the loan fee of Cleverley and Sinclair is and how much of a sign on fee we paid for Richardson, Cole and Senderos would be good to know.

          1. Andrew
            Andrew February 9, 2015 at 9:30 pm . Reply

            Add in the 3m for Gil and the confirmed agreed fee by Lambert for Lambert, which was reported for at least 5m, and he would’ve again spent near 15m in the 2014-2015 season if Lambert was landed. Which is what I said he gets a year. And a lot of manager’s would absolutely enjoy that.

      2. nath
        nath February 9, 2015 at 9:09 pm . Reply

        you are wrong again andrew, lambert hasn’t spent 20 mill 2014 summer or jan. how can you say we have spent this. back this up name um players. gil sanchez richardson sinclair sendros,cole, cissoskho cleverley any more ???? where is the 20 mill i must have missed someone

        so now basically your backing up the claims, lerners has backed the manager ?????when you have championship sides like bournemouth offering bluenoses 5 mill for a player and we are loaning crap like cleverley and sinclair players that haven’t played in years

        1. Andrew
          Andrew February 9, 2015 at 9:32 pm . Reply

          Good thing I never said it was the 2014 summer we spent that. Reading comprehension goes a long way in making an argument. I said 15-20m a year, IE: During a season. Not in a single summer.

          You mean the 5m fee for Lambert we agreed? I also said 15-20m. Not straight up 20. 6m in the summer, 3m for Gil and at least 5m for Lambert = 14m, then the sign on fees no one knows the exact prices for the likes of Richardson, Senderos and Cole which are more than likely at least a million together. And you get the money I claimed he spends a year.

    3. Guest
      Guest February 10, 2015 at 3:18 pm . Reply

      Nobody is saying this is all Lamberts fault, Lerner is not blame free, they are both the reason we are in this position, facts are, if Lambert was a better manager we would be in a better position, and if Lerner was a better chairman, we would have a better manager, none of this is rocket science, yet there seem to be a few posters on here that seem to want to lay the blame at one persons door where the reality is that more than one person are responsible for this mess.

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