Aston Villa 1 Swansea 1 match report: Paul Lambert on thin ice as more points slide away

Villa end losing run but search for victory continues in vain

Villa Park

There is a time to be grateful for small mercies. After being granted a mere 27 per cent of possession at home to a hitherto out-of-sorts Swansea City, Aston Villa were relieved to gain their first point in five matches. But Paul Lambert, the manager, admitted that his good relationship with the chairman Randy Lerner does not make him immune from the sack.

The draw may have stopped the rot but, with just two victories at Villa Park this season, Lambert will be glad to be back on the road, at Sunderland, on New Year’s Day. To what extent Lerner will feel emboldened on this evidence to back him in next month’s transfer market is a moot point, but as things stand Villa are not good enough to avoid a relegation fight.

Lambert spoke of a “long road of a challenge that I relish” after holding talks with his chairman on the eve of this game. “I don’t think it can be any tougher than last year and he was great with me then,” the manager added. “I’ve only been here 17 months and I knew the first few years would be really difficult. But we’re on 20 points and we’re halfway there [to staying up].”

The truth is that Villa are a worse team than last season. And that was a battle. It is not only that they have missed Ron Vlaar, their captain, and Christian Benteke, their talisman last season who had misplaced his form even before a knee injury, but the summer signings look poor. Those on view yesterday – Leandro Bacuna, Antonio Luna, Aleksandar Tonev and, eventually, Libor Kozak – all struggled.

At least Villa scored in the first half of a Premier League game for the first time this season, Gabriel Agbonlahor providing the ideal fillip for Lambert’s team in the seventh minute as he ran on to Andreas Weimann’s neat pass, composed himself and rolled the ball past Gerhard Tremmel.

Swansea, who were excellent throughout, have been on a poor run themselves, with only two wins from 15 games as their participation in the Europa League has taken its toll. But they dominated yesterday.

Ben Davies had already headed down and over the bar and De Guzman shot wide before Roland Lamah, the Belgian player on loan from Osasuna, equalised at the back post, heading in Pablo Hernandez’s deep cross after good movement.

Swansea dominated thereon in but, missing the injured Michu, failed to find the necessary penetration. Villa, resorting to lumping clearances in the general direction of Kozak in a 4-5-1 formation, were grateful for a point.

Line-ups:

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Guzan; Lowton, Clark, Baker, Luna; Bacuna (El Ahmadi, 70), Westwood, Delph, Tonev (Kozak, 61); Weimann (Albrighton, 79), Agbonlahor.

Swansea City (4-2-3-1): Tremmel; Tiendalli (Rangel, 55), Flores, Williams, Davies; De Guzman, Canas; Pablo Hernandez, Shelvey, Lamah (Pozuelo, 68); Bony (Vazquez, 84).

Referee: Roger East.

Man of the match: De Guzman (Swansea)

Match rating: 7/10

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee