Lambert showed strength, passion and leadership for 90 minutes yesterday. Indeed, for the first time I was genuinely impressed by him. The trouble was, this was Southampton’s Rickie Lambert.
Paul Lambert is backed by most Villa fans but there are increasing concerns about the dismal playing style and baffling tactics adopted as the Villa list badly in the storm.
Defensively we were wide open for yet another game against a team below us. Saints barely broke a sweat as they got in behind us time and time again. The full backs Stevens and Lowton discovered a new low.
Has a team ever had such a collection of liabilities in Bennett, Stevens and Hutton as options? It’s scary considering the alternatives as well as first choices.
The Southampton goal was a farce on two fronts. The otherwise steady Delph had a moment of madness, panicking under pressure in the box, rifling a clearance into another Villa player. Chaos ensued as the ball broke, Guzan somehow saved the squirmed ball before Rodriguez dived outrageously for a penalty.
It was such a good dive that I thought it was a bolt on penalty live. Referee Mark Halsey called it the same and from there Villa were scrambling to save the game. Halsey, as a side note was poor overall. He missed things all afternoon both ways that were seemingly obvious. He was part of the game when he should have been officiating. Awful.
I am not going to tell you things about Villa that I haven’t already or which you have seen for yourself.
As we looked to get level we lacked urgency until the last quarter to do anything about it. We continue to be laboured and inefficient with all that we do. It’s infuriating to watch.
We finally abandoned our incomprehensible system and began to create chances.
And boy were we wasteful. Benteke spurned two great chances, one requiring a calm finish into the gaping net. Frustrating, poor and oblivious to our plight from our young forward.
The frustration in the result is largely that Southampton didn’t appear up to much. They cheated their way into a lead and were quite content to take what chances presented. As to be expected they did against Villa’s back four.
By losing this fixture we should be under no illusions about our situation. It is grim, as poor a Villa team in our modern history with what looks like having little idea as to how it’s going to turn things around.
Is relegation a certainty? No. However, if we do not take golden chances and address our woeful defending then we will only have ourselves to blame in May.
One final word in relation to cheating Jay Rodrigues’ dive. And more specifically his manager Nigel Adkins’ comments. So ridiculous, so embarrassing are they as words to say, I’m truly glad he’s not managing our football club. Shameless, unsporting and lying are fine attributes for a football manager after all.
Roll on WBA away….signings, please?