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AJ

A Season Of Lambert

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As the season draws to a close I thought I''d pop back and give my own Villa perspective on Lambert.

Overall I''m going to give him a 7-.

It''s been exactly the kind of season most of us expected, a complete rollercoaster, and there was a time when the impatient supporter in me actually thought ''he''s got to go'', that was the December/January cup exit period on the back of some spankings of course.

But I have to say he''s almost won me over. And I''ll tell you why.

There has been a complete transformation of ethics, long term plan and above all else team this season. At most times we''ve basically had a complete new, and youthful side on the pitch compared to last year.

Guzan was resigned and has replaced Given, and has been superb (winning both the supporters and players ''player of the year'' award), to think he''d actually left on a free and was brought back by Lambert as a priority bodes well in that department.

Defence, at times it''s been led a merry dance this season. But it''s also been almost a completely new back four for most of it. Two new lower league full backs, Lowton who has blossomed into a fantastic player already and the less settled Bennett who''s still equally excellent and nightmarish in the same game. Vlaar who''s come in and looked fairly good but has also missed a lot of games through injury, and the two young youth products Clark & Baker. Both have grown up a lot this season, and Baker especially has started to mature well. Bodes well for the future as the average age (without 28 Vlaar) is 22 I think.

Midfield has been a big problem, the club didn''t replace Petrov last summer and with that you lose experience and leadership (as well as a captain and decent footballer)

We''ve again bought in a lower league lad in Westwood and he''s really started to flourish. He''s basically Joe Allen but 14m cheaper. Already tentative whispers about a possible England call up next year, and deservedly so. Somehow Lambert has also got Delph playing to some of his youthful potential after years of awful injuries. I never thought I''d see the day I''d praise him, but Delph has looked very good of late. Another big bonus is the unknown cheap as peanuts French lad Sylla, who''s also blossoming from squad filler into future captain material.

Almost as importantly, Lamberts realised the likes of Ireland, Holman, Bannan etc probably aren''t worth keeping. Ahmadi started the season well but boggling injuries and the pace of the game make me doubt he''ll make the grade tbh.

Attack, leaving Bent out was a HUGE gamble by Lambert and it didn''t go down well with most, but slowly but surely the logic has again shown through. Bent, despite being an out and out goal scorer simply cannot play in this favoured 3 man attack system. Weimann has stepped up a level and is the new Kuyt with his non stop work rate down the right and Gabby has almost been transformed back into the player we all thought we had 4/5 years ago. He''s been immense during the final few months.

And finally Benteke. WOW. How some of the so called big boys didn''t see him coming through I don''t know. For a 21 year old signing, now 22 he''s been out of this world. Not just the goals (of every sort) but as a complete footballer. He''s led the line almost perfectly and although initially hit and miss in front of goal, he''s transformed into a top drawer finisher already. No surprise then that the giants of European & English football are said to be circling. I have no doubts he''ll move on to the very top soon, but I''ll console myself with another season and the 25-30m transfer fee as and when

So. All in all, a tentative thumbs up for Lambert. I expect top ten at least next season, and have a sneaky feeling a Europa spot isn''t out of the question either.

It''s been a breath of fresh air, and a much needed change of ethos too

UTV

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Ps. Until recently I was sure he didn''t do tactics. But have to say the ATTACK focus after years of negativity is refreshing and at the very least entertaining

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I have to say I was always a little intrigued at you/your club''s insistence that there was no need pay us anything for him; the best part of £2m certainly said otherwise.

Re: Villa''s season, I wish I could care, but don''t.

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[quote user="AJ"] All in all, a tentative thumbs up for Lambert. I expect top ten at least next season, and have a sneaky feeling a Europa spot isn''t out of the question either.

It''s been a breath of fresh air, and a much needed change of ethos too

UTV[/quote]

You had me nodding with agreement up to the last bit.    Lambert teams don''t defend well - as you will have seen.  As long as you outscore the opposition you''ll be fine, but the pressure on the strike force will always be higher than at most clubs.   I don''t know, but just a question, how many clean sheets have there been at Villa this season?  Not the be all and end all, but just interested to know.

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[quote user="AJ"]

 I expect top ten at least next season, and have a sneaky feeling a Europa spot isn''t out of the question either.

It''s been a breath of fresh air, and a much needed change of ethos too

UTV[/quote]

 

There were reports that Lerner told Lambert to slash the wage bill, which was £70m in the 2011-12 season. True or not, I have seen a reduction of 30 per cent mentioned. If it is anything like that amount, and there is no change of policy for next season, do you not risk losing some of your better players straight away? Just as a seven for Lambert seems niggardly, so a top-ten finish looks optimistic. The link between finance and finishing position can be overplayed but it is generally a decent guide.

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No idea. But with the defensive changes we''ve had, and with the youngest back four in the league at times I''d say less than a handful

It''s not really of much concern to me personally mind, as I know when we do let one in we have to attack even more. And it''s quite thrilling watching us do that. If you look at the Carrow Road game, Hanson pointed out at 1-1 and the whistle ready to blow we had 5 or 6 players upfield still trying to win the game. You can''t beat that kind of excitement even when it goes tits up

I want my team to attack, to try and win. I can''t be doing with negative crap like we got from McLeish. I want to enjoy the 90 minutes win or lose. I must be getting old and less concerned I guess

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Thanks for that AJ, most interesting.

I can assure you that every player improved under Lambert, take a bow Culverhouse.

I went to a few of the meetings featuring Lambert and he always insisted that we wouldn''t like him when he moved on, sacked or otherwise. There were shouts form the audience ''No No we wont''

We were wrong, he was right ;-)

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[quote user="lake district canary"][quote user="AJ"] All in all, a tentative thumbs up for Lambert. I expect top ten at least next season, and have a sneaky feeling a Europa spot isn''t out of the question either.

It''s been a breath of fresh air, and a much needed change of ethos too

UTV[/quote]You had me nodding with agreement up to the last bit.    Lambert teams don''t defend well - as you will have seen.  As long as you outscore the opposition you''ll be fine, but the pressure on the strike force will always be higher than at most clubs.   I don''t know, but just a question, how many clean sheets have there been at Villa this season?  Not the be all and end all, but just interested to know.[/quote]

I''ve just looked it up, five.  More than I would have thought - but your defence has been a bit suspect, but never mind - good luck next season in your European quest [:D].     

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From what I hear, the wage bill is now well within our limits, and with the likes of Dunne, Ireland, Given, Hutton and Bent off it this summer too (not to mention the extra tv revenue) and its all smiles in the accounting dept

That said, I''m 100% sure we won''t be bringing in any big names or big salary players EVER again. This whole new youthful/hungry ethos is one everyone seems to be buying into now. No more expensive mercenaries or players looking for a last pay day. It''s all change down Witton way.

And it couldn''t have come quick enough tbh. The club was in danger of losing its soul. These new ideas/changes seem to have struck a positive chord with all

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[quote user="AJ"]No idea. But with the defensive changes we''ve had, and with the youngest back four in the league at times I''d say less than a handful

It''s not really of much concern to me personally mind, as I know when we do let one in we have to attack even more. And it''s quite thrilling watching us do that. If you look at the Carrow Road game, Hanson pointed out at 1-1 and the whistle ready to blow we had 5 or 6 players upfield still trying to win the game. You can''t beat that kind of excitement even when it goes tits up

I want my team to attack, to try and win. I can''t be doing with negative crap like we got from McLeish. I want to enjoy the 90 minutes win or lose. I must be getting old and less concerned I guess[/quote]We know that feeling all to well and its Lamberts bread and butter. Its no wonder we got so many goals in the Championship season in the final minutes.Its going to be interesting next year on Lambert, I think hes going to struggle to keep hold of Benteke in particular. Its a shame because you seem like a decent chap but all that comes to Carrow Roads are a bunch of ctnuts. Only fans worse than Villa IMHO are Arsenal fans.

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That''s odd. Most folks reckon we''re a loud and loveable bunch. But as with ALL teams, you get bellends amongst the ranks. What can you do?

Anyway. Enjoy the football tomorrow and see you next season

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I think any Villa fan should really be worrying over the summer.

Wiemen is yet to sign a new deal with his current one running out next summer I believe.

Holding on to Benteke - it''s going to be the hardest thing Lambert has faced so far. Champions league teams circling - he''d almost be foolish not to move to the likes of Spurs or Arsenal.

As for your summary of Delph, he''s not as good as you make out.

Sure, all in all Lambert has done a good job, but if you look back with a neutral eye you''ll see that as a manager he does cost points due to surrendering width to teams with dangerous wide players or a better midfield.

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"I want my team to attack, to try and win. I can''t be doing with negative

crap like we got from McLeish. I want to enjoy the 90 minutes win or

lose. I must be getting old and less concerned I guess"
Completely agree. Oh memories.I reckon he''ll shore up your defence next season and build on a good yr.In

L1 & the Championship our defensive record was good (4th & 8th

respectively). Conceeding goals isnt the be all and end all.

Brazil,Ajax,Madrid and Barca have never built teams around great

defences and it done them no harm.Scoring goals is what wins you games. Its the hardest thing in football to do and ultimately it got you out of the s**t this yr.I

dont hold any malice towards PL. Im able to look back at the 3 yrs with

great fondness and some of the best memories i am ever likely to have

supporting City. I dont pine for him either, he''s gone. but there will

always be comparisons with him & Hughton.

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Im quite sure given,dunne, bent, ireland and Hutton are not out of contract this summer so I don''t.know who you expect to take them on those wages. Stephen ireland 70k a week, good luck finding a buyer 4 him. I get the impression they happy there picking up the money. That''s about 250k a week down the drain.

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To be honest I wanted you guys to go down, not really because of Lambert, but because I think if you build that team around your front 3 and with Lambert as manager you guys have a chance of pushing into the top 6. Frankly Id be almost dissapointed from a Villa fans point of view that you guys didnt take advantage of Benteke''s season... having a player scoring that many goals should really result in a push for Europe, not a relegation dog fight. I think that it would be a traversty for you top keep benteke and have another season knocking around the bottom 4, I dont think you will, which as a fan of a team that will probably still be in that mid block of teams is a bad thing as its one more sum out of the equation and the odds shorten.Anyway Im hoping we are going to push on next season, should make for some competetive games against Villa and this little bit of ''history'' with Lambert means that Villa have become the cloesest thing to a rivalry we''ve had with any team up in the top flight... though even then its barely one, I think most fans will have stopped caring by August and the first match. You wait till we unleash our own ''beast'' on the league, Benteke might have the Rep.. but we''ve got The Wolf!

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Personally I couldn''t give a monkeys toss , he''s not our manager any more.

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[quote user="AJ"]From what I hear, the wage bill is now well within our limits, and with the likes of Dunne, Ireland, Given, Hutton and Bent off it this summer too (not to mention the extra tv revenue) and its all smiles in the accounting dept

That said, I''m 100% sure we won''t be bringing in any big names or big salary players EVER again. This whole new youthful/hungry ethos is one everyone seems to be buying into now. No more expensive mercenaries or players looking for a last pay day. It''s all change down Witton way.

And it couldn''t have come quick enough tbh. The club was in danger of losing its soul. These new ideas/changes seem to have struck a positive chord with all[/quote]

 

Of course all clubs get the extra money - and the demands from agents for higher wages for the players they represent. And as another poster has pointed out you may not be able to get everyone you want off the wage bill. My point was not so much that you are financially in a better place than you were; it seems you are, which is fine. But if that sensible policy continues you are likely to find it very much limits how high you can go in the league.

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[quote user="AJ"]From what I hear, the wage bill is now well within our limits, and with the likes of Dunne, Ireland, Given, Hutton and Bent off it this summer too (not to mention the extra tv revenue) and its all smiles in the accounting dept

That said, I''m 100% sure we won''t be bringing in any big names or big salary players EVER again. This whole new youthful/hungry ethos is one everyone seems to be buying into now. No more expensive mercenaries or players looking for a last pay day. It''s all change down Witton way.

And it couldn''t have come quick enough tbh. The club was in danger of losing its soul. These new ideas/changes seem to have struck a positive chord with all[/quote]According to the web....Ireland has a year left, Bent has two years, Given has three years, Hutton has two years.Even if they sign for other clubs, they''d be expecting a deal to be done on their wages (as obviously they''d be substantially lower)

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There''s no doubt he''s a good manager, and I think he could do a good job anywhere - but he''s only ever going up.

Enjoy it whilst it last, because he won''t be about for long

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I wonder if we would have got a Villa season review if they went down?! I think maybe not.

And Villa a loud, loveable bunch? Villa Park resembles the atmosphere of a morgue, or a library perhaps.

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I think talk of top half next season is a bit optimistic but I''d expect Villa to be in a similar position to us, out of the relegation battle but not setting the world on fire. Will be an interesting summer though with Weiman and Benteke in demand, a defence to sort out and by all accounts not a huge amount to spend next season.

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[quote user="can u sit down please"]"I want my team to attack, to try and win. I can''t be doing with negative crap like we got from McLeish. I want to enjoy the 90 minutes win or lose. I must be getting old and less concerned I guess"

Completely agree. Oh memories.

I reckon he''ll shore up your defence next season and build on a good yr.

In L1 & the Championship our defensive record was good (4th & 8th respectively). Conceeding goals isnt the be all and end all. Brazil,Ajax,Madrid and Barca have never built teams around great defences and it done them no harm.

Scoring goals is what wins you games. Its the hardest thing in football to do and ultimately it got you out of the s**t this yr.

I dont hold any malice towards PL. Im able to look back at the 3 yrs with great fondness and some of the best memories i am ever likely to have supporting City. I dont pine for him either, he''s gone. but there will always be comparisons with him & Hughton.
[/quote]

 

I don''t bear any malice to Paul Lambert either but here''s the rub... I don''t bear any malice to Chris Hughton either. I also don''t see why there should always be comparisons between Hughton and Lambert. It''s impossible to say how Lambert would have fared here this season just like it''s impossible  to say how Hughton would have fared here last season. How does Hughton fare in these comparisons you always will make CUSDP?

 

BTW.. what got us out of the s**t this year? A bit further out than Villa as it stands...

 

 

 

 

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[quote user="nutty nigel"]

[quote user="can u sit down please"]"I want my team to attack, to try and win. I can''t be doing with negative crap like we got from McLeish. I want to enjoy the 90 minutes win or lose. I must be getting old and less concerned I guess"Completely agree. Oh memories.I reckon he''ll shore up your defence next season and build on a good yr.In L1 & the Championship our defensive record was good (4th & 8th respectively). Conceeding goals isnt the be all and end all. Brazil,Ajax,Madrid and Barca have never built teams around great defences and it done them no harm.Scoring goals is what wins you games. Its the hardest thing in football to do and ultimately it got you out of the s**t this yr.I dont hold any malice towards PL. Im able to look back at the 3 yrs with great fondness and some of the best memories i am ever likely to have supporting City. I dont pine for him either, he''s gone. but there will always be comparisons with him & Hughton.[/quote]

 

I don''t bear any malice to Paul Lambert either but here''s the rub... I don''t bear any malice to Chris Hughton either. I also don''t see why there should always be comparisons between Hughton and Lambert. It''s impossible to say how Lambert would have fared here this season just like it''s impossible  to say how Hughton would have fared here last season. How does Hughton fare in these comparisons you always will make CUSDP?

 

BTW.. what got us out of the s**t this year? A bit further out than Villa as it stands...

 

 

 

 

[/quote]Its human nature Nutty- people will compare. Lambert is in some ways lucky that Villa fans will be comparing him with McLeish who was almost universally disliked.

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[quote user="king canary"]

Lambert is in some ways lucky that Villa fans will be comparing him with McLeish who was almost universally disliked.


[/quote]

 

Luck doesn''t come into it buddy. Just like Lambert couldn''t fail if our fans compared him to Gunn. Which didn''t really happen to be fair. Anyway, Lambert finding himself in those positions is probably far more design than luck.

 

 

 

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[quote user="Citizen Journalist Foghorn"][quote user="nutty nigel"] 

BTW.. what got us out of the s**t this year? A bit further out than Villa as it stands...

[/quote]

Back to mentioning Villa''s league position Nutty [;)]


[/quote]

 

Nice to see you''re still around buddy[Y]

 

 

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[quote user="can u sit down please"]"I want my team to attack, to try and win. I can''t be doing with negative

crap like we got from McLeish. I want to enjoy the 90 minutes win or

lose. I must be getting old and less concerned I guess"
Completely agree. Oh memories.I reckon he''ll shore up your defence next season and build on a good yr.In

L1 & the Championship our defensive record was good (4th & 8th

respectively). Conceeding goals isnt the be all and end all.

Brazil,Ajax,Madrid and Barca have never built teams around great

defences and it done them no harm.Scoring goals is what wins you games. Its the hardest thing in football to do and ultimately it got you out of the s**t this yr.I

dont hold any malice towards PL. Im able to look back at the 3 yrs with

great fondness and some of the best memories i am ever likely to have

supporting City. I dont pine for him either, he''s gone. but there will

always be comparisons with him & Hughton.[/quote]

Scoring goals does win games. You also can''t lose if you don''t concede any. Italy, Arsenal, AC Milan have all built sides from the back and it hasn''t done them any harm. Baresi, Maldini, Costacurta to Adams, Dixon and Winterburn.

Different approaches, both successful. Which one is best?

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I suspect if Villa don''t finish in the top 12 next season, then Lambert will be sacked. I don''t think many fans of this big club will accept a relegation battle again.

Benteke will leave in the summer if his agent asks for the £80k rumoured.

Frankly I think this season has shown how limited Lambert might be as a manager.

And there you have my summary!!

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