I’d like to think that Villa is at a similar level to Fulham at the moment. The weekends result may suggest otherwise but Villa were in no way over roared by the Cottagers. I openly admit that Fulham were the better team and deserved the three points, but Villa could have quite easily come away with a point had Benteke converted his late chance.
People must remember that losing away at Fulham is no disgrace. At Craven Cottage they have an eye brow raising record that has carried on from last season, taking 32 points from a possible 42. That said there are some positives that Villa can take away from the game.
Despite being the away side they were not passed off the park. Fulham only just edged the possession 51%-49%. Villa had some nice moments of tidy passing and attacking fluidity, until ultimately the promising moves broke down a little in the final third. McLeish may have managed to come away from Craven Cottage with a point last season as manager, but personally I’d sacrifice a point for at least trying to play football rather than parking a bus.
Villa also managed to muster 12 attempts at goal. The frustrating aspect of this however is the fact that, despite Darren Bent being recalled to the starting line up, Villa couldn’t fashion a clear cut chance for him. The only real clear cut chance came when Benteke replaced him. Bent most likely would have tucked that chance away, but he’d already had 75 minutes to work a goal scoring opportunity. Benteke may have missed but at least he caused enough hassle to create that chance. His goals will come; you need look no further than his International record for evidence of that.
Finally it’s clear to see that the Villa boys are still prepared to run their hearts out and work hard for their new manager. I don’t think that Lambert is far off when he suggests that the tide will soon turn for Villa, “I think they will be fine. I think they are mentally strong enough to handle it. I really don't think we are far away from getting the results we want.”
“We were unlucky against Newcastle and against Tottenham. I want to win of course, but I am not overly concerned. You need a break, you need a little bit of luck along the way. It is deserting us at the minute.”
This may be Villa’s worst start to a season since 1986-87, a season where Villa were ultimately relegated, but it is still very early days, as Corporal Jones used to shout in Dad’s Army, ‘no need to panic, no need to panic!’
image: © ell brown