A season defining game before Christmas.... I must be mad. Unfortunately this is just what it is for both teams.

Burnley's terrible start to the season has been somewhat forgotten in recent weeks with back to back wins and encouraging performances. Villa's surprising start is the only thing keeping us out of the relegation zone, with a series of injuries to key players, some bad luck and some dire performances.

A defeat for Villa and surely the writing is on the wall, its all huff and puff on the pitch for Villa with very little finesse, without trying to be disrespectful of Burnley, this is a game a club like ours should be going in to expecting to win, expecting to dominate.

Sure football doesn't always work out like that, but even before the game I'm sat worried about the fact we're going to turn up and sit deep... and this shouldn't be the case.

Burnley are a club that decided to change its colours to Claret and Blue because of our clubs success... and come Saturday, Lambert will (i'm sure) be sending out a team to get a point, and maybe pinch all 3. A sure sign of how far we have fallen, and continue to do so.

Saturdays team news looks bleak also, Benteke serving the final game of his suspension, Vlarr, Senderos and Delph still out. Bent has been sent out on Loan with Robinson coming back. All this not helped with Weimann and N'Zogbia being way out of any kind of form and Sanchez still adapting to life in the Premier League.

I do feel for Lambert in this regard, the fans still have the same expectation, even when, arguably, his best 3 players aren't available. And other key individuals being out of form. However he has stuck by these players, resisting using players like Grealish, Cole and Okore. Now his hand might be forced and we can see if he was right to hold them back and keep faith.

On last weeks performance of Okore, it would seem that Lambert's reluctance to play these players is misplaced and perhaps they deserve a chance.

Rumours around the club suggest that Grealish is set to get his first start in place of N'Zogbia and given a free role behind a front 2 of Gabby and Weimann... we expect to get better word today after the final training session and see what he's had young Jack doing. There is also a chance that Robinson will get some time on the pitch after being recalled from his loan at Preston, this I fear is not for first team action though, more to cover for Bent being sent on loan. A move that the young player seems less than impressed by....  

Potential Line up.

GK - Guzan

Def - Hutton Clark Okore Cissoko

DM - Sanchez

CM - Cleverly Westwood

AM - Grealish

AT - Gabby Weimann

From a Villa point of view Burnley have two main threats. Danny Ings who is a goal threat to any defence and their wide men, who both are direct and have pace, something our full backs struggle with. Its all goes back to the fact if Villa can dominate the ball and force Burnley back we nullify those threats, that is truly the best form of defence against team like Burnley.

A higher defensive line is possible with Okore in the team, that man is quick and will go stride for stride with most in the League. Hutton and Cissoko just need to push their opposing men backwards from the off.

I am one of the more positive Villa fans, yet I just can't see a win coming any time soon, not until our big hitters are back. My prediction is a 2-2 draw... won't it be nice to score 2 in a game eh? And I'm sure it will be described as an "excellent point" 

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I'd keep things fairly tight for the first 20 minutes then step on the gas. Burnley will try to sneak an early goal then keep things tight. This is the one game where I can see Gabby being effective. Having said that he'll probably be useless.

The problem against QPR was that if anything we were too positive; they sat back and just waited for their chance, even though they were at home (playing our game if you like!). We do have to be positive, very positive, against Burnley. We can and should win it. But don't slip up in the first few minutes.

Positive? I think we'll get a minimum of 3 wins by the end of the year. So long as we don't have another batch of injuries to major players. OK, I'm optimistic. But then I'm a Villa fan. I know that the next game will be better and we'll have a good season, eventually...

Welcome back WC, was it good behaviour that got you out?

I can't see us scoring two goals in a game without Benteke playing.

I would like to see Grealish given a full game and this is the right opposition for him to have a go. I would also like Robinson to be given a go he can't be any worse than Weimann. I also agree that N'Zogbia should be rested, poor bloke has had to play a few games now without effect so we could just let him have a rest now for a couple of years.

Finally I would play Cole instead of Cleverley.

Onwards and horizontal at least.

Haha... Nah I did a stint over at AVL writing for them for a while. They're decent guys but had to stop for a while... had a nasty divorce to get through so took a rest from writing and tried to get life sorted... all good now tho but don't want to commit to an article a week so thought I'd come see how SW was doing... looks like a few are still here.... I will be coming on more regular now.

Look forward to a bit of Villa Bants...

Good we could do with a bit of livening up, look forward to some provocation.

The Southampton and West Ham points have done little to lighten my mood,  I hope that when Benteke gets back things might improve. But first we must get through the Burnley game and sad as it may seem I do not think that we will win, a draw at best,  how low have we sunk that I do not think we can beat Burnley?

We need a new manager to inspire this squad, we must not leave it until it is too late, I remember only too well 1987 and the incompetent leadership back then and this season is going that way.

Lose against Burnley and surely even Lerner must see that Lambert is out of ideas. It is a shame due to the constraints that he has endured, but enough is enough. A draw is the worst result as Lambert would keep his job and we will continue to slide towards the inevitable relegation that I can feel coming this season if we do not change course soon.

We are doing pretty crappy, WC, real crappy indeed.

Half of us want Lambert out, the other half are still resting our hopes on Darren Bent.

Oh the life. 

if only bent was the player he was 5 years ago....

I can see us scoring but like most,I can't see us getting that win we need.
Really was excited about Mr Lambert being our coach,even with the restrictions I thought his Norwich style of football would be a perfect match for us,sadly his over cautiousness and playing players who need dropping,as well as the most poor records being broken every month just sadly convince me that he is out of his depth.
I salute that he has kept us up under an owner who has destroyed us but I believe we do have a good mid table squad that should be playing better than what is being delivered. We can't hold a ball,we pass it around with no purpose,the players are being played out of positions,players are not given a chance when others are shocking and the £20 odd million he has been given each season,is still more than most above us and spending £8million on cleverly is cleverly not a good option.
Can't see Steve Clarke being our number two as he would be to much of a threat to Lambert's role.
If we lose our next three games then for me. It's time for him to go.
All teams have injuries so let's stop using this as an excuse,as its a squad game in our position of relagation battlers.
A draw against Burnley, a draw against palace and a win against a toothless Leicester,who would love being given £20 million a season. That's 5 points for me,not an over the top demand but a realistic aim.
Anything less then it's a goodbye Lambert,anything more,then we have obviously started being more positive and I will shut up.
Just hope it's more as its getting embarrassing going to Football matches here in Oz that even Ipswich ,Coventry fans are taking the michael.

Team: Guzan, Hutton, Okore, Clark, Cissokho, Cleverley, Westwood, Sanchez, Cole, Agbonlahor, Weimann

Bench: Given, Lowton, Bacuna, N'zogbia, Robinson, Richardson, Grealish

Cole in for N'zogbia.

Just got in, HT:

1-0 to us. Cole. Sounds like a lively game. Seems Lambert has decided to go for it. Load of misses from us (Gabby, etc), as per usual! But Cole seems to be doing fine. At this precise moment in time we are up to 13th and level with Liverpool; enjoy it while you can. 52% of the play, 13 shots, 4 on target.

On a slightly different note, the Villa web site hasn't been updated since Thursday, and no sign of promised statement on Keane. My gut feeling is that it's just possible something is going on in the background.

Does Lambert thinks it's pure coincidence that in the first half when we were going for it and pushing forward that Burnley didn't create much? Unacceptable to keep dropping deep and inviting pressure. THAT'S why they create more you useless fuckwit

1-1 Final score. Ings penalty after Okore foul 85'. A bad mistake but the only one he's made.

We had 54% of the play. 18 shots 7 on target, as opposed to their 11 shots 4 on target.

We went for it and it was the way to do it. But why, why, why, can't our forwards score? If Gabby and Andi could only find the net we'd be fine. It must be doing everybody's heads in, including Lambert's. At least Benteke will be back for the next match, hopeful on fire and determined to make up for lost time.

I agree it's time to call it a day for Gabby and Weimann, we had a good deal of possession and lots of shots but no goals from either.

In a proper team a ratio like that would mean they were dropped, Benteke is back next week so that's one of them gone, January should see a new goal scorer come in and the other one gone.

Good decision to play Cole, he has to play or go, one or the other and a good decision to replace him with Grealish who nearly scored the winner at the death.

Of course it's wrong to drop back too deep but if the likes of the front two muppets can't do their jobs then this will always be so. We need more contribution from the front players, hopefully Benteke will go a long way to a solution.



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