Aston Villa vs. Norwich City  1 - 1


Lambert keeping the faith with Villa

27 October 2012 19:37

Paul Lambert remains confident in Aston Villa's ability to improve despite missing out on three points after a 1-1 home draw with Norwich City.

Villa went ahead 27 minutes in thanks to a Christian Benteke goal, but they were set back by the dismissal of defender Joe Bennett and Michael Turner's late header following a corner secured a point for Norwich.

Villa have struggled under the guidance of their new manager so far this campaign, claiming just six points from nine games, and find themselves only two points above the relegation zone in 17th place.

However, Lambert assured fans of his determination to correct his team's poor early season form.

"I’ve got belief we'll be totally fine. I've got great belief in them. At the start of every game I think we can win it and I won't change my thinking," Lambert said.

Lambert voiced his frustration at the lax defending behind the Norwich equaliser, and highlighted the inexperience of their back four.

He did, however, praise the performance of goalkeeper Brad Guzan after a string of impressive saves helped deny Norwich the win.

"We switched off at the corner. At this level, you cannot switch off," he said.

"They were defending really strongly, we were excellent, putting our bodies on the line, to say we had one recognised centre-half.

"(Guzan is) in world-class form at the moment. He's a top goalkeeper. I think the club’s fortunate to have two world-class goalkeepers, I really do. Brad is playing really well at the minute."

Norwich boss Chris Hughton, meanwhile, was grateful for the point his side gained despite having several opportunities to take all three.

"The fact that we were 1-0 down and had to get back to 1-1 is better," Hughton said.

"It was a real opportunity for us, but you've also got to give Villa credit. They have to defend it and they defended it sufficiently enough in that last period.

"I'm delighted. In this Premier League points are so tough to come by, so if you're able to perform you hope you're able to pick up points to go with it.

"Four points from two games, including a game away from home, was always going to be really tough and we need to maintain that kind of form."


Premier League: Aston Villa 1 Norwich 1

27 October 2012 16:03

A late goal from Michael Turner secured a hard-earned point for Norwich in the early kick off against Aston Villa at Villa Park.

Villa boss Paul Lambert made three changes to the side that lost against Fulham, and again kept faith in Christian Benteke, leaving Darren Bent among the substitutes.

With both sides having picked up just one win, the game started as expected, a packed midfield allowing for little space in the middle of the park.

The game's first chance fell to the home side on eight minutes, though. A counter attack started by Marc Albrighton saw Brett Holman attempt a through ball to Benteke, the deflected pass came back to him, but his low drive was well saved by John Ruddy.

Both teams lacked quality in possession in the early stages, but with 17 minutes played, Norwich had a soft penalty claim turned down by referee Phil Dowd, as Elliott Bennett went down under the strength of Ron Vlaar just inside the box.

And they were soon on the front foot again, as Holt controlled a flick on and played the ball through for Wes Hoolahan, who timed his run perfectly. His first time shot was well met by the onrushing Brad Guzan in the Villa goal.

But it was the hosts who took the lead against the run of play, with 25 minutes gone. The Norwich defence was drawn to Holman as he received the ball on the left; he crossed for an unmarked Benteke, whose turn and shot beat Ruddy from 10 yards.

The goal appeared to be a wake-up call for Norwich, and an excellent spell for the visitors ended in a wild effort from Holt, but they went into the break trailing.

The second half started in similar fashion, but Villa were soon down to 10 men. Joe Bennett was shown a second yellow card for a needless tackle on namesake Elliott Bennett, leaving his manager to sacrifice Gabby Agbonlahor.

With an hour gone, there was another good chance for Hoolahan as he was put in on the left by Anthony Pilkington, but again Guzan rushed out to prevent a Norwich leveller.

Chris Hughton's side were struggling to break down the depleted Villa side, but were finally rewarded for their efforts with 10 minutes to go.

A simple Hoolahan cross was headed in by Michael Turner at the near post for a deserved equaliser.

Despite late pressure from the visitors, who looked the more likely throughout the second period, Villa held out for a point.


Lambert upset over Norwich comments

26 October 2012 15:54

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has continued his war of words with Norwich City chairman Alan Bowkett.

Lambert left Norwich for Villa Park at the end of last season, and on Saturday will welcome the Canaries for the first time since his departure.

Bowkett reportedly made claims at a fans' forum in September that Lambert had left all of his previous clubs in a similar manner.

But the 43-year-old responded tersely when asked about those claims.

"I don't know because I've never spoken to the chairman for about three years," Lambert told reporters.

"Perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration, maybe two. It's a good chunk of time. Why? That's football. Let him talk. We will see what happens.

"Could I have handled leaving Norwich any differently? Me, not at all. I took advice from the LMA and I know what is going on."

Lambert and Norwich City are suing one another for breach of contract, with the outcome due to be decided by a Premier League manager's tribunal.

"It will be in the hands of a Premier League manager's tribunal and hopefully it will be sorted. But I've got nothing to be ashamed of. I've got nothing to hide," he said.

"When you leave a club, especially after what we'd done, you'd think we'd be made to feel welcome. But it doesn't always transpire that way. I look back at the three years with pride.

"It was an incredible part of my life which I'll never forget and the crowd were magic with me.

"Football moves on but I'll never forget the time there. I loved my time there but I don't think I'll be made welcome to go back, that's for sure."


Premier League preview: Aston Villa v Norwich

25 October 2012 10:28

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert will face his former club Norwich City for the first time on Saturday with both teams desperate for a win.

Lambert lost some patience after Villa's latest defeat, a 1-0 loss away to Fulham, but said there were still 'country miles' to go this season in the English Premier League.

The 43-year-old Scottish manager would undoubtedly love to take three points against his old team to move away from the relegation zone.

Aston Villa are 17th and have just five points from eight games, only one point and one position ahead of Southampton, who occupy one of the relegation spots, but Lambert remains convinced his team will turn their results around soon.

"There's no time to mope," Lambert told the club's website.

"If you start feeling sorry for yourself then you get problems.

"Some of the football we are playing at the moment is pleasing, it's not like we're struggling all over the park, we're playing some really decent football.

"There are miles to go, country miles to go but we do need to start turning these performances into wins."

Norwich head west to Birmingham on the back of a 1-0 home win against Arsenal last week.

Norwich manager Chris Hughton has taken his team to 15th on the table with six points.

Striker Grant Holt scored the winner for Norwich against Arsenal and if his team are to move up the table, the bustling 31-year-old, who scored 15 goals in the Premier League last season, will be central to that.

While Lambert will know all about Holt, any plans he creates to nullify the Norwich forward may come to nothing unless he can fix Villa's defence.

Lambert's team have conceded 13 league goals this season but even if Villa's boss would like to change his back four, the long-term injuries to Richard Dunne, Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker limit his options.

Norwich's defence has been no better, conceding 17 goals in eight games and whichever team can click up front at Villa Park will most likely take the points.

Lambert started Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor up front against Fulham, putting Christian Benteke on the bench, but Villa's forward line remains a problem area.

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
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