It’s a huge weekend for Lambert, Mancini, Suarez, Newcastle
Paul Lambert was part of this column last week, and then he won. However, thanks to a bloody ridiculous shambles of a performance against Bradford City in midweek. One step forward and three steps back at the moment for Villa, and Lambert is still hugely under the microscope.
Villa desperately need some experience and also a centre-back, preferably both in the same instant. Joleon Lescott has been rumoured to add extra resilience, but fans would probably settle for just about anything right now. After investing £200m since 2006, owner Randy Lerner must feel like his manager needs to show him a light at the end of the tunnel.
Villa host Southampton this weekend desperate for a win. They will be favourites to do so, but the time for excuses is over. And after eight home goals in ten games, you’d be a brave man to punt on Lambert’s men.
With the highest budget, highest wage bill and highest transfer expenditure over the last two years, winning the Premier League is the least that should be expected of Bobby Mancini. The problem is, Manchester City have dropped eleven points away from home, and travel to Arsenal where they lost last season.
With Manchester United facing Liverpool at home, City must win on Sunday if their title bid is not to lose more momentum. Luckily for Mancini, they haven’t even scored at the Emirates since 2007, and you get an extra point for knowing that DaMarcus Beasley was the scorer.
Suarez faces United again, fifteen months after the incident that effectively started the dreary culture of hate that has slowly encircled our domestic game. Last season, during his first visit to Old Trafford since the unsavoury scenes, Suarez scored a late goal to give Liverpool hope in a 2-1 defeat.
This time around, and again the Uruguayan travels to Manchester United shrouded in controversy. Whether or not you agree with the sh*tstorm surrounding Suarez’s handball goal against Mansfield, there is no denying that the striker feeds off the criticism and rage.
If this were any other player, Brendan Rodgers would hope that the player kept his head down and nose clean. But this is Suarez, and Rodgers will want nothing of the sort.
This is getting rather serious.
Newcastle are yet to win an away match this season in any competition. They have conceded 17 goals in their last five away games. They sit two points outside the relegation zone, and in their relegation campaign of 2008/9 had three more points at this stage of the season and were four places higher.
Looking at their team against Brighton last week, the forwards were absolutely woeful. Shola Ameobi has never been prolific, Sammy was doing an impressive impression of his brother, and Nile Ranger failed to impress in the Championship last season and is a loose cannon, at best. If Papiss Cisse gets injured, things look dreadful.
Another week, and another opportunity to gain that first away victory. Play like they did last week and Norwich will win with ease.