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Monday 16th December 2013 15:32

Paul Lambert: Disappointed at home

Paul Lambert: Disappointed at home

Aston Villa FanZoner Tom Davis laments Aston Villa's atrocious home form in the wake of another defeat, with pessimism taking over Villa Park.

Defeat at the hands of Manchester United on Sunday was not a pretty sight. It never is a pretty sight.

For every game we come close to upsetting the odds against them, there's always a handful of hammerings. That, as hard as it is to say, was a hammering.

Ironically, just as Paul Lambert had said in his post-match press conference, it was actually one of the brightest starts to a game we have made this season.

Marc Albrighton was finally given the start most fans - myself in particular - craved on the right-wing, showing great vigour in his attacking movements. He must start the next game.

But it all suddenly disintegrated with the goal.

Danny Welbeck is a fine footballer with the ball at his feet but he isn't the most clinical of finishers in front of goal. Unfortunately it was just so easy for him on this occasion with poor marking for both.

In minutes the game was lost. Lambert could have, and perhaps should have, changed his tactics from then. Having said that, a tactical change would have had little impact on the outcome of that result.

The trouble is we don't have any options on our bench to change the shape of a game or have any real lasting effect even if we needed that spark, particularly at home when we look so stale.

Following victory away to Southampton the other week, a pundit noted that with three different goalscorers and Christian Benteke starting on the bench, we quashed claims we are a one-man-team.

I actually agree with that statement. While not being a one-man-team, we are in fact a fine counter-attacking side and that's nothing to be ashamed of. It's just a pity we can't play any other way.

Here at Villa Park we're woeful. Welbeck was made to look like a killer finisher in front of goal while Tom Cleverley - for a first-time viewer - could have been mistaken for Xavi. That in itself is a sin.

It was the basics that was lacking. Not tracking your man, not staying in position, not getting in their faces when they had so much time on the ball. 4-3-3 was not the formation we should have played.

But in fairness, Lambert admitted afterwards that Chris Herd was in line to play but for a facial injury in the build-up, so there would have been that added bit of bite and possibly an altered formation.

In the games we've played United at home, we've always normally delivered a real strong midfield battle and crowded them out - and that's with Barry Bannan, Chris Hogg and Jermaine Jenas playing.

So it's not who you play against them, but how you play. Unfortunately Lambert got that all wrong.

Back in November I asked for Cardiff, Sunderland and Manchester United to be made to fight for any points they pick up when they come to visit. Sadly, that's not really happened.

For every step we take forward we seem to take another two steps back, but, looking on the bright side, our little run of eight points from 12 prior to Fulham was positive.

Up to then we looked on course to achieve my own target of around 18 points - starting with Cardiff - before the New Year began. Three wins in the next three games can take us to 17.

Despite the negatives of Sunday, that return would be terrific and represent a really strong start to the season from Lambert in spite of any critics he may currently face.

But with two of those coming at home and given our ludicrously poor home form with no goals in four of our last five attempts, I'm just not so optimistic we can do that.

To quote a rather catchy 90's rock riff, "a pessimist is never disappointed." I may just be a pessimist on this occasion.

You can follow Tom on Twitter at @tomdav1991 - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too!



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