It has been another funny old season for Aston Villa.
Owner Randy Lerner has been looking for a buyer for the club, but remains fully committed to his duties at Villa Park and may have to get his chequebook out again in January.
Paul Lambert was handed a new four-year contract in September, but has since endured winless runs of nine and four matches apiece – with the latter still ongoing.
Roy Keane has also come and gone as his assistant, but Villa have positioned themselves five points clear of the relegation zone and will believe that there is plenty more to come from them as 2014 comes to a close – as the Opta statistics below help to demonstrate.
Lack of firepower: The obvious place to start for Villa is their lack of goals, with Lambert’s men the lowest scorers in the division and in need of a serious spark in the final third of the field.
No cutting edge: Given that they have mustered only 11 goals in 19 appearances, it comes as no surprise to find that Villa have also converted fewer ‘big chances’ than any of their rivals.
|Big Chance Scored||Appearances|
Chasing shadows: Part of the problem for Villa has been their inability to get on the ball and keep hold of it, with only lowly Burnley and Crystal Palace having spent less time in possession.
Share the load: No table here as there are no stats to work with. If Villa are to move in the right direction over the second half of the campaign, it is vital that everyone plays their part. That means everybody chipping in from all over the field. Joe Cole is the only midfielder to find the target for Villa this season, with one goal to his name, and others need to start offering more in a key area if positive results are to be generated.
Give yourself a chance: Failings in the final third are highlighted by the lack of corners Villa have won this season, with only Swansea City forcing opponents to defend fewer set-pieces from that area.
Bodies on the line: One positive for Villa to take on the defensive front is the number of crosses they have blocked, with their back line unable to be breached if they cut the supply line off at source.
Get stuck in: From one extreme to the other. While Villa have been able to cut out a number of crosses, they need to start throwing their weight around and crunch into a few more tackles.
Adding to that point: Sticking with that theme, Lambert will be disappointed to see that his players come off second best in far too many of the tackles they are able to put in.
Early baths: Fabian Delph’s red card against Sunderland has been upheld, with Villa enduring disciplinary struggles which have left them with 10 men on too many occasions. They have also collected 41 yellow cards.
|Total Red Card||Appearances|
Aston Villa would probably settle for mid-table mediocrity at this stage as their season could still swing wildly in opposing directions.
They should have enough to steer well clear of a relegation dogfight, but edging their way into the top-half of the table before the campaign comes to a close may represent the height of their ambition.