Former Aston Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie has told Sky Sports News HQ that he believes the time might have come for manager Paul Lambert to move on.
After the weekend’s 5-0 thumping at Arsenal, Villa have now gone eight league games without a win, six without a goal and remain just three points above the relegation zone in 16th-place.
Furthermore, with just 11 goals from their 23 matches, the club are also on course to be the Premier League’s lowest-ever scorers at their current rate of 0.48 goals per game, having failed to hit the back of the net in over 10 hours of football.
After consecutive 15th-place finishes in Lambert’s previous two seasons in charge, Hendrie has seen little sign of progress under the Scot, despite the likes of Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph being at his disposal, and believes a change in the dugout could be the best option.
However, with new additions Carles Gil and Scott Sinclair coming in last month, the claret and blue legend hopes that the season can still be salvaged with a change of formation to help provide Benteke with more service up top.
“There are two options for me,” he said on Wednesday. “The first is the way they’re playing at the moment. They’re playing a 4-5-1 formation with Christian Benteke up there on his own.
“If you’re going to play that formation you need players who are going to get up alongside him and get in behind the back four.
It’s a big job for him being on his own up there. Hopefully bringing in the likes of Sinclair in might bring that extra attacking force.”
“The other option is you change the manager,” he continued. “You look at the last three seasons and they’ve been in the exact same situation.
“This time of the season you’re looking around and they’re fifth from bottom, have scored 11 goals and aren’t getting results at home. The fans are frustrated.”
Nevertheless, Hendrie is concerned that, at this stage of the season, there might not be someone out there capable of pulling the club out of a potential relegation scrap.
“The only problem is who’s available?” he added. “You look at the likes of West Brom and Crystal Palace who’ve brought Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew in, respectively, and have started to lift up a little bit.
“I personally think they might need a new man, but it’s just a case of who’s out there.
“It used to be a fortress, Villa Park, but now lower league teams are going there and thinking they can get a result. It needs a massive freshening up.”
To make matters worse, Villa host league leaders Chelsea this coming week, hoping to somehow replicate the shock 1-0 win from last season’s corresponding fixture.