Football managers are never far from being given the sack - and Paul Lambert is not immune.
With a mix of media pressures, trigger-happy chairmen, and disgruntled fans, managers in the Premier League are in a precarious position.
At the time of writing, only two top flight managers have been sacked this season: Neil Warnock at Crystal Palace; and shortly after, Alan Irvine at West Brom.
Lambert in danger of being sacked
Both sackings could have been predicted, but by this time last season, six managers had already received the boot.
Perhaps chairmen are more patient, fans more tolerant. But I believe the third managerial casualty could be fast approaching; that of Paul Lambert at Aston Villa.
Villa, even by their own recent standards this season, are having a torrid time in the Premier League. They currently sit in 15th place, only three points above 18th, but similarly only four points below 11th. This may not seem like a desperate scenario for the West-Midlands club, but there are other issues that Lambert has failed, or is unable, to address.
Aston Villa have scored only 11 goals in 22 Premier League games this season. An absolutely dreadful statistic which makes them the lowest-scoring team in any of England’s top divisions.
Put simply, if Aston Villa do not start scoring goals, they will be relegated. To put it into perspective, only one team in the Premier League has ever failed to score 30 goals in a season and survived: Manchester City in 2006-07.
So far, Aston Villa fans have mainly directed their ire at Randy Lerner rather than Paul Lambert, but the manager has recently begun to receive more and more criticism. Mutiny in the stands threatens to emerge if Villa’s recently-acquired possession-based style (reportedly based on Bayern Munich!) continues to produce a lack of scoring chances.
Possession-based football is often sensible, but the problem arises when simple ball retention just isn’t dangerous to opponents.
How long does Lambert have left?
At goal-kicks, full backs drop deep and wide to receive passes from Brad Guzan and build attacks. But frequently moves lead to nothing. Pace on the flanks is a huge issue, as is creativity through the middle.
But even when Villa get the ball into scoring areas, Benteke looks a shadow of his former self, Andreas Weimann appears to lack the necessary quality to succeed in this division, and Agbonlahor is little more than a sprinter.
Aston Villa are a big club with huge Premier League heritage. But unless they start to score goals, and quickly, Lambert will no longer be the man at the helm.