Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert and the club’s fans shouldn’t be surprised the English Premier League team is facing a tough relegation battle this season. What else could they expect after the squad has managed to score just 11 goals in 22 league contests. The Birmingham-based club has the lowest goal total of all 92 professional teams in England and Lambert needs to share the blame along with his players. Lambert saw it fit to ship out former English international striker Darren Bent on loan to Derby County of the second tier English Championship League.
The 30-year-old Bent signed with Villa for a club record 24 million pounds four years ago. Lambert played Bent just eight times this season before shipping him out and seven of those appearances were as a substitute. Lambert didn’t have any use for Bent last season either and loaned him to Fulham. With his contract expiring at the end of June it looks like Bent’s days with Villa are numbered, but Lambert’s will be too unless the team starts scoring goals. Bent says Lambert left him out of the team due to personal reasons while Lambert claimed the player simply wasn’t good enough. But Bent has 187 goals to his name in 469 career games and had 25 in 72 matches with Villa.
bet365 lists Aston Villa at 11/4 to be relegated at the end of the current English Premier League season and 12/1 to finish in last place.
Even though Lambert’s squad is the worst in England at scoring goals the manager feels one of his key players is Dutch defender Ron Vlaar, who has been out of action since New Year’s Day with a knee injury. Vlaar underwent surgery on the knee and he and Lambert are anxious to see him return to action as soon as possible. It was believed that Vlaar would miss about six weeks due to the problem and he likely won’t rejoin the squad until mid-February. Villa could be in the relegation zone by then as they haven’t managed to win a game without the 29-year-old centre-back.
The team needs all the help it can get at both ends of the pitch as Villa was sitting in 15th place in the 20-team league on January 21 and there have been no signs of improvement over the past several months. The club was just three points above the relegation zone and could soon find itself in the middle of it. Many Villa fans believe Lambert is the reason for the team’s woeful position and scoring record and find it hard to believe he hasn’t been fired by now. However, the blame should also go to Villa ownership as they re-signed Lambert to a four-year deal after the team went unbeaten in the first four league games of the season. Many critics felt it was ridiculous to reward a manager after just three weeks into a nine-month long campaign.