Aston Villa Play Blame Game Ahead of City Match
Following last week`s welcome win over Arsenal at Carrow Road, the mood around Norwich City football club has been noticeably more positive, with an almost calm confidence ahead of the trip to Villa Park on Saturday lunch time.
Like most supporters, this was the fixture I was most looking forward to and the acrimonious departure of Lambert in the summer (and the subsequent revelations about his litigation against the club) have certainly added spice. It feels almost like a derby game. Tensions, and emotions will be high.
It`s been a difficult start for both managers. But while Chris Hughton was expected to struggle, with safety the main objective, much more was expected of Paul Lambert and his choice of club, Aston Villa.
However, 8 games in and Norwich City sit in 15th place ahead of the game, whereas Villa sit 17th, with only one win (at home to Swansea) and with arguably an easier start to the season. With initial fixtures against Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal out of the way, Chris Hughton should feel that his team are well-placed to move up the table. After Villa, City have Stoke and Reading whereas Villa have Sunderland away and Manchester United, followed by Man City and Arsenal.
A City loss would not be unexpected, and there are relatively easy games to follow. A Villa loss could define their season. Make no mistake, the pressure is all on Paul Lambert and Aston Villa to get a result.
Lambert has steered Villa to their worst start to a top flight season since 1986 - a season in which Aston Villa were relegated to the second tier.
By some Villa supporters, Paul Lambert has already been unfairly compared to 'fools gold`, and they are quickly looking at where the blame for their poor start may lie….
As one fan states, "It would seem that we are stuck between a rock and a hard place, people wanna give Lambo a chance but it's hard when you see the guy make blatant tactical errors and display poor man management (dropping Bent, making the team play with no width etc).
"What is interesting though is who do we blame as a group of supporters now? Lose to Norwich at home next Saturday and I have no doubt whatsoever that the reaction will be bad, the only thing I don't know is who the vitriol will be aimed at."
Not all fans see it this way, some blame the board for not putting money back into the club and selling the best players, whilst some blame the players themselves for individual errors.
What is clear though, is that they are not a happy bunch at the moment, and it would be interesting to see what might happen with the fans should the match start to go against them on Saturday.
Villa have struggled in the last few seasons, scraping through last year and spending £24m on Darren Bent the previous season to ensure safety. Whether Lambert can produce another Houdini act, only time will tell. It`s clear at the moment that the Villa fans aren`t sure either.