Aston Villa vs. Wigan Athletic  0 - 3

Article

Premier League: Aston Villa 0 Wigan Athletic 3

29 December 2012 18:03

Aston Villa fell to a 3-0 loss at home to Wigan on Saturday - a performance that is sure to pile the pressure onto Paul Lambert's side.

The Villans endured a horrendous opening when Ivan Ramis headed in unmarked from a corner, and almost gave away a penalty moments later, but looked to be recovering their confidence shortly before half time.

Wigan however took advantage of Villa's swashbuckling opening to the second half, and Emmerson Boyce finished a quick move that caught Villa off guard with a sweeping finish, and minutes later Arouna Kone added a third after some more lax defending.

The heavy defeat means Villa have shipped 15 goals in three matches since their win over Liverpool at Anfield, and have failed to trouble the scorers in that run.

Lambert changed formation after conceding the third and attempted to restore some morale, but plenty of fans had left the ground before the final whistle concluded a worrying performance.

Aston Villa's young side had gone into the game following two heavy defeats and Lambert responded with an attack-minded 3-5-2 naming Stephen Ireland, Barry Bannan and Brett Holman in midfield. Wigan however looked boosted by the return of Ramis at centre-back and forced the home side to endure a harrowing opening at Villa Park.

After just two minutes right back Matt Lowton was lucky not to give away a penalty after putting his hand to a long ball towards Franco Di Santo. Justice was served from the resulting corner as Jean Beausejour's floated delivery found the unmarked Ramis on the edge of the six-yard box for the Spaniard to head the ball past Brad Guzan and take advantage of poor marking from Christian Benteke.

Villa looked shaken by the concession and Wigan looked as though they might overwhelm their inexperienced opponents for the opening half hour, in which the home side struggled to keep the ball and were restricted to a speculative shot from Andreas Weimann and hopeful long balls towards Benteke.

Shaun Maloney could have won a penalty inside the opening 10 minutes when Ireland failed to track the Scotland international's run onto Beausejour's through ball down the left edge of the box, then committed what looked a foul on the edge of the box in attempting to win the ball back. Beausejour found a lot of space on the left flank through the half and teed up Maloney who shot over the bar, while strikers Kone and Di Santo failed to make the most of good work from their midfield.

Villa grew in confidence however towards the end of the half, with Lowton and Bennett each contributing from the wings as their midfield began to maintain possession. Benteke had the ball in the back of the net after good work from Holman but the Australia international had earlier found Weimann offside. Maloney was booked for a foul in frustration just before the break, and from the free kick, Benteke headed back across goal for Holman to strike the bar from a tight angle.

The hosts continued the second half as they left off, with their midfield impressing and together with right-back Lowton getting well forward to maintain possession in the Wigan half. Wigan however took the exposed Villains by surprise and extended their lead with a quickly taken throw-in reaching Maloney in the centre of the pitch.

The playmaker found Boyce who drove towards the box and found Kone before receiving the ball back again on the edge of the box. The right-back swept the ball into the bottom-left corner in an excellent finish.

Minutes later Kone netted a third as Di Santo threaded a through-ball from outside the edge of the box to the Ivorian, who withstood a weak challenge from Lowton before rounding Guzan before rolling the ball into the net to seal a comprehensive win for Roberto Martinez's men.

Article

Lambert has faith in youthful Villa

28 December 2012 19:27

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert says his players will not be dwelling on consecutive defeats to Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.

Villa went down 8-0 at Stamford Bridge on December 23, and followed up that thrashing with a 4-0 loss to Spurs in front of their own fans on Wednesday.

They have an opportunity to bounce back with a home match against fellow strugglers Wigan on Saturday, and Lambert is confident his team's morale remains intact.

"I think I have always said that even when you win you let it go as quick as you can. You have to get it out of your system - the two defeats - as best we can," he said.

"If someone had said you'd take three points from Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham I think everyone would bite your hand off.

"But because you've been smacked twice everyone thinks 'oh, here we go' but I can't let two games distract from what we are trying to build here."

Lambert said he intends to continue with his policy of fielding the club's crop of promising youngsters despite the team's precarious position of 16th on the table.

"Experienced players won't always take you where you want to go," he said.

"I know that from my own experience, I've got a belief in the way we are doing it in the long-term this club will be great.

"There's no point me saying we're down there because of inexperience. This club was battling against relegation last season."

Wigan meanwhile could be set to welcome back defender Ivan Ramis following his month-long absence through a hamstring injury.

"Ivan is part of the squad now and is allowed to work with the group," Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said.

"He was on the bench against Everton on Boxing Day and has had an extra two training sessions since then.

"Is he able to play 90 minutes? It is too early for me to know that.

"I will find out pretty soon. He probably needs a bit more work but he will definitely be involved against Manchester United if not Aston Villa.

"That is a massive boost for us."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25