To a certain extent, losing games can occasionally be tempered by respectable performances and a goal threat. Aston Villa have neither.
They have not found the net in the Premier League since early December and have only managed a miserable 11 goals in 21 games during the campaign. This is relegation form and more alarmingly, Paul Lambert does not seem to know how to put these problems right.
Against the Gunners in midfield Carlos Sanchez looked completely absent whenever an Arsenal player had the ball. Up front, Villa seem to continually pin their hopes on Christian Benteke.
However the Belgian remains inconsistent. It has been the same story for the Villains this season and the buck must stop with the manager as the players do not seem to be responding to him.
During his first two seasons at Villa Park the 45-year-old Lambert put his trust in young starlets to hopefully deliver success. Players like Benteke and Joe Bennett were mercilessly thrust into the first team picture.
After two mediocre season at the wrong end of the table, Lambert seems to have abandoned his youth policy and spent the last pre-season bringing in more seasoned professionals. Tom Cleverley and Kieran Richardson were two of those brought in to turn Villa around to little effect.
It is clear from this that Lambert has panicked with his purchases. As most of his Premier League counterparts will testify, building a balance of youth and experience in the playing squad will give any team a better chance of bringing success. Trying to succeed purely with youth and then deserting this route for experience in a knee jerk fashion will almost certainly fail.
Owner must take action
As Villa remain up for sale owner Randy Lerner clearly, and rightly, wants to ensure stability at the club. This will give Lambert some breathing space but Lerner must be careful.
Trying to find the right buyer for the club will be a far easier task if he is trying to sell a Premier League club with solid foundations. Selling a club on the complete downturn with low morale will be a far more difficult task.
Worse still based on his club’s current form, come May the American Lerner may have the unenviable task of trying to sell a Championship club. Maybe then he may wish that he had took more decisive action with the manger.
In the sacking culture which has engulfed the Premier League, the way that Villa have backed their manager is refreshing and amongst neutrals they have won plaudits for this. Yet, should they find themselves dropping further down the league and potentially into the Championship at the end of the season, these plaudits will provide little comfort.
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