Premier League Aston Villa suffered a 3-1 defeat to Bradford in the semi-final of the Capitol One Cup at Valley Parade last night.
The Villans were beaten by goals from Nahki Wells, Carl McHugh and Rory McArdle.
Villa’s only goal of the game came from Austrian attacker Andreas Weimann. The strike may prove vital as it kept Villa in sight in the tie for the second leg on 22nd January.
Fourth tier Bradford have to be congratulated for their performance and win. For any team from League Two team to beat a Premier League club is an achievement, considering the difference in resources between the two teams.
Aston Villa have been very poor this season. The teams form last season was also poor and boss Paul Lambert hasn’t been able to turn the team’s fortunes around, despite the fact that the Scot has made a number of major changes.
Paul Lambert has decided on a policy of signing youngsters and playing home-grown youngsters. This policy would be fine if those young players were good enough. Some of the youngsters at Aston Villa have yet to prove that they are good enough to play for a top flight club.
Lambert’s policy is admirable, but the policy simply hasn’t worked out. The Scot has decided to leave some of his more experienced players out of the team. The likes of Darren Bent and Shay Given have been restricted to very limited appearances this season, a lot of the pair’s games coming in the cup competitions.
Lambert must now bite the bullet and bring those out of favour players back into the team for the Premier League games. The admission of Darren Bent from the starting line-up really does mystify me.
Granted Bent contributes very little to the teams build-up play, but he is a proven Premier League goalscorer. The 28 year-old has scored goals at every team he has played for and is the sort of player that Villa need.
Lambert has brought in highly-rated youngster Christian Benteke and the Belgium international has made a bright start to his English top flight career. The pair would make a great partnership up front for the Villans.
Lambert however seems to prefer to play with just one striker and a player in the hole. This will mean that the Scot can’t make the best use of two very effective strikers. Benteke is better at holding the ball up than Bent, but the England striker is a predator in the penalty area.
Austrian Andreas Weimann has done well this season. However he looks more like an attacking midfielder than striker. The youngster is one of the bright young things at Villa that looks capable of making it at the top level.
Aston Villa are in desperate need of strengthening their very young squad. Lambert really needs to add experience and quality to his squad, whether the former-Norwich boss has funds to spend to bring in new players remains to be seen.
Prior to Lambert joining Villa I thought he was a top boss, but it seems it’s all gone wrong for him in the Midlands. He is attempting to build a side and reduce the wage bill at the club at the same time.
The Scot has made wholesale changes to the team and they haven’t quite worked out for the Villans. The Villa Park faithful are now having doubts about his ability to get the club out of their current slump.
Villa are just a point above the relegation zone and face a home game against fellow strugglers Southampton this weekend. Should the Saints claim victory then Villa could be in the bottom three.
Even with a two goal deficit Aston Villa will still be considered favourites to progress into the final of the Capitol One Cup. On paper Villa should win the tie, but football often produces surprises, as last night displayed.
If their form doesn’t improve then Villa could be struggling to stay in the top flight and not progressing into the final of the Capitol One Cup may be the least of their worries.
Will Aston Villa make it into the final of the Capitol One Cup?