After taking an early lead through a lovely free kick from Ashley Westwood, Aston Villa fell 4-1 to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday. That’s two straight 4-1 losses for the Villa, with both sides coming from behind to cruise to victory – yet Paul Lambert doesn’t seem too concerned.
Speaking after the match, the Villa boss said “I thought the scoreline was pretty harsh on us. We had chances to pull it back. You’re obviously disappointed about being beaten 4-1 but there’s a lot to take out of the game.”
Villa fans might disagree, especially after experiencing a certain déjà vu throughout the match, thinking they might have flashbacked to last week’s loss to Stoke City. It didn’t help watching Christian Benteke waste a fantastic chance, or seeing the defense fall to pieces again and again. Fans may be wondering what, exactly, there is to take from that match.
The Villa still look safe, sitting eight points above the relegation zone, but after this weekend’s results, it’s starting to seem like every side in the bottom half of the table might still be in danger of the drop.
But Lambert remains positive on relegation as well: “We’re in a decent position but we need to get another couple of wins or so. I don’t set a points target because if you do and you don’t hit it, it becomes disappointing.”
With games against Fulham, then Crystal Palace on deck, you have to wonder if Villa fans are hoping that Lambert would set at least a small target: six points. 40 in total, the traditional number needed for Premier League safety. It’s achievable – and perhaps having a target would give this Villa side a goal. Particularly since they looked, shall we say, rather aimless against United.