Two games in to the new season and Aston Villa sit rock bottom of the league having lost to West Ham and Everton, not the start Paul Lambert would have envisaged when he joined from Norwich. He inherited a largely inexperienced squad from predecessor Alex McLeish, with youngsters who were probably not ready to be thrust into in the limelight last term. The club of course survived relegation but it was clear to see some experience was needed to help drag the team back up the table.
Lambert was quick to address the areas he thought were the weak links. Hutton and Warnock were told they weren’t in his plans and he set about bringing his own players in. Matt Lowton was signed from Sheffield United to challenge Eric Lichaj for the right back spot, whilst Ron Vlaar and Karim El Ahmadi were brought in from Feyenoord to add some experience. However, this apparently hasn’t been enough, and after such a disastrous start to the season , the Villa fans have been screaming out for more signings to be made. Presumably Paul Lambert has been doing the same.
Villa started this season as they ended the last, with key players gaining significant injuries. They lost both Richard Dunne and Gabriel Agbonlahor, who won’t be back until late September/early October, whilst Marc Albrighton and most recently Gary Gardner have added to the list. With the transfer window slamming shut on Friday, it is imperative the club get some more players in. More injuries, and what is already a thread bare squad, and they will be calling on yet another group of youngsters to help out. It’s not that there isn’t quality in the youth ranks at the club, but they need to be introduced into the team gradually.
In the opening game of the season against West Ham, it was clear one of the main problems was scoring goals and creating chances for Darren Bent to put away. Despite having 66% of possession, only Arsenal and Manchester City having more passes in the opening weekend, Villa only managed 7 shots all game and a miserly 2 of those were on target. The Everton game was a total contrast in possession, as Villa couldn’t cope with a team having a strong start which has been so elusive in seasons past. Villa only managed 39% possession, but it was evident the main problem again was creativity as they only mustered 6 shots and 2 on target.
Too much pressure is on Darren Bent to provide the goals, as he did when he joined from Sunderland two seasons ago. The only problem is that he had Ashley Young and Stewart Downing providing the assists back then and both have since been sold on, and their replacements, Charles N’Zogbia and academy graduate, Marc Albrighton, have failed to light up the place.