Paul Lambert - The Hero We Needed

Oh for fuck's sake. Now I've seen it all. "The hero we needed"? Melodramatic enough? Can I get some more inferiority complex please?

Dealing with players

Lambert was dogshit at man-managing. It was no secret we wanted to offload Bent, Given, Ireland, Hutton and N'Zogbia. Cases can be made against the quality of all of these players, but there is no doubt they could have helped us at some point. Youth and inexperience was one of the biggest weaknesses of our squad as we routinely crumbled under pressure. Regardless, banishing the "bomb squad" to the reserves made very little sense. We needed these players in the shop window, not rotting away in the under-age teams. Banishing them ultimately had no effect, of course. All of those players continued to collected their exorbitant wages and saw out their contracts. Hilariously, Given and Hutton were eventually reinstated as assistant-manager and primary right-back, while Bent and N'Zogbia received clean slates in Lambert's third season. Begging the question, what the fuck was the point in shunning them 2 years ago?! It was an absolute shambles.

Archaic tactics and horrendous results

Lambert's first season left us all a nervous wreck. Youth was the name of the game. Old and experienced players need not apply. We all still remember the Christmas period of 2012/13 with 15 goals conceded in 3 matches without any reply. Losing against Bradford fecking City over two legs in the semi-final of the league cup is inexcusable. What's more, we had a big opportunity to win it outright, given that the other finalists were Swansea. Despite unnecessary rifts with various players in the squad, we somehow stumbled over the line after Benteke and Weimann burst into form. In my view, the second half of 12/13 was the only good time throughout Lambert's era. We were almost down and out. It was suicidal football. It was madness, but it was fun because we somehow survived in the end.

Right from the beginning of his second season, our new gameplan was clear. Keep everyone back, win the ball, give it to our keeper and let him hoof it to Benteke. Hopefully he and the wingers will produce some magic. Need I remind you that Guzan to Benteke was the most attempted pass in the league, at one point? We routinely finished games having hardly seen the ball but, according to Paul, possession doesn't matter. The result is the only thing that matters.

Old, experienced players was the name of the game in his 3rd season. Yes, let's completely reverse our philosophy on recruiting players. Oh, and while we're at it, let's flip-flop on our tactics, too. Where was Lambert during Spain and Barca's world domination back in 2008-2012 with their tiki-taka style? Apparently, Paul wasn't watching football back then. He only seemed to realize the merits of this style after making a personal visit to Guardiola's Munich. Despite this meeting, we still couldn't implement it successfully. Lambert would disagree with me though. In his view, a 2-0 loss is as good as a win because we dominated the possession. Paul had changed his mind from the previous seasons. Suddenly, he was ALL about the stats! We persisted with this "new" awful style of play that got us nowhere, until he was finally sacked. Had he remained at the club, relegation was inevitable. Do we need to recall the goalless drought? Do we need to remember that, despite having one of the best strikers in the country, we were the lowest scorers in the top 8 divisions?

The inferiority we exuded Our performances on the pitch ultimately reflected the personality of the man. We were dull, boring and lacked any ambition whatsoever. According to Lambert in 13/14 the cup competitions were a useless distraction and we were duly knocked out of the FA Cup by Sheffield United. Perhaps he was still suffering PTSD from the Bradford embarrassment but, if we're not interested in domestic cups, it makes you wonder what we are competing for.

Conclusion Randy certainly deserves a wealth of the blame, but Paul Lambert did the bare fucking minimum at Villa. He should consider himself lucky if he ever manages at this level again.

Come on, man.

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