I’m going to start by giving credit to Tom Cleverley and Alan Hutton. They gave a decent account of themselves against Everton. If the 9 other players had approached the game with a similar mentality and application, we would have stood a chance. Sadly, the rest of them put in a performance barely worthy of the shirt. Without going into copious amounts of detail in the lack of pressing, defensive cohesion and clueless attacking, there’s little more I can say apart from we’re in for another very tough season if we continue to perform like that. I don't think we will, we all know we are capable of better and the first few games of the season gave us a lot of reasons to be positive. We just have to put it right against QPR.
One Moment: Winger's performance personifies woeful Villa
There were plenty of mistakes I could have gone for, but I feel the need to highlight this because Charles N’Zogbia has been very poor so far this season in pretty much every game. Against Hull, he got nowhere near their left wing back Robertson and he was their main outlet throughout the game, the only man to cause us any problems. Against Man City, he gave the ball away regularly and aside from 1 promising run, offered nothing. So when I saw his name on the team sheet (With Bacuna and Grealish nonsensically dropped from the squad) I was not best pleased.
To little surpise, N’Zogbia offered absolutely nothing to trouble Everton. He didn’t track Baines, who completely ran the game. He gave the ball away unneccesarily with alarming regularity, most importantly for the 2nd goal. His selection would be understandable if he offered the same unpredictable attacking threat as 5 years ago, when he popped up all over the pitch for Wigan and made things happen. Apart from a 2 month spell in 2012-13, we've never seen that side to his game in claret and blue. He acts like a primadonna, but doesn't give you the genuine quality and end product that you need to justify that. He doesn't do the dirty work, but he doesn't make it count when he receives the ball in behind the defence. The reality is he is no more of a creative attacking asset than Andi Weimann, Leandro Bacuna, Kieran Richardson or Jack Grealish...and they are all willing to do their bit for the team without the ball.
Verdict: There were plenty of poor performances on the day, but I have singled out N'Zogbia here because his apathy is contagious. He must be dropped from the team for the next game. He does not deserve to be there based on his performances and I see no sign that is going to change. If he wants to stay a part of Lambert's plans going forward, he's got to show he wants it and can make a meaningful contribution. I want nothing more than for the guy to have a strong season and prove me wrong, but I don't think he will.