Date: 29th October 2012 at 9:42pm
Written by:

Everybody has their own ideas where things are going wrong at the Villa at present. Some are blaming Randy for tightening the purse strings, some are blaming the players (well certain players anyway) but very few seem to be blaming Paul Lambert.

Now before I get accused of being fickle, I’ll state clearly that I am not calling for the manager to be sacked or anything so silly. What I would like though is for our much lauded manager to spend a little less time trying to show everyone how clever he is and a little more time, actually being clever.

We don’t have the best of squads that much is fair, we certainly won’t be knocking on the doors of the champions league any time soon but we don’t have the worst squad either – on paper at least.

We spent a reasonable amount of money in the summer and if the management are to be believed more was and still is available. Our manager decided on his targets and went out and brought in a collection of foreign internationals and lower league pretenders.

I have some fairly significant issues with the man management being demonstrated by our new manager but that is not what I wanted to write this article about.

The focus of this article is as the title suggests the tactics (or lack of them) at present.

The chopping and changing of the team clearly isn’t helping at present but there genuinely seems to be a complete lack of ideas out on the pitch. The players chase and harry when we lose possession but when we get the ball the lack of movement could only be increased if each player was nailed to the turf in turn.

With Christian Benteke in the side the favourite tactic appears to be hoof it forward and hope he can win the header. I don’t particularly like long ball football but if that is the tactic that is going to be adopted then the tactics and instructions need to reflect it. Players need to run off of the target man bending their runs in behind whilst others take up positions in areas where the ball is likely to drop should the defender win the ball. If we are going for this direct style then wingers are redundant and three up top would be far more profitable.

Another option which we seem unwilling or unable to employ would be to use Benteke’s height by service from the flanks. Unfortunately we appear to have wide men and full backs under instruction to make no forward runs under any circumstances (arguably this season has been worse than last when Alan Hutton for all his failings naturally went forward). If this tactic of get it wide and get in over is to be adopted then wide players need to be instructed to get forward making runs and overlaps down the flanks. Darren Bent would be the obvious partner for Benteke due to his predatory skills in the box and Eric Lichaj’s long throw would be a weapon that could be employed to good measure.

A further obvious option would be to use the pace of Gabby Agbonlahor, Charles N’Zogbia and Bent, setting up without width but with those three up top and Stephen Ireland in midfield picking through balls and two ball winners/grafters to support him.

I’m sure there are plenty of other tactics and formations that people can think of. I’m not advocating certain players but rather looking at the squad evaluating the strengths and the assets that we have and employing tactics that suit them and the opposition.

I’d love someone to be able to show me how the team have been adopting a style of play and demonstrate the tactics being employed but unfortunately I don’t see any evidence of any tactics being imparted. I don’t mind losing if I can see something taking shape but at the moment the players look even more clueless than they did last year and it seems to be getting worse game after game. We don’t have great players but then neither do Fulham, West Brom, Swansea etc who are all enjoying more success at the moment than we are because they are making the whole greater than the sum of the parts through tactics and formation.

Paul Lambert Forum Thread.

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