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Has Lambert got what it takes without Benteke? A statistical view...


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I don’t post on here regularly anymore but after another frustrating loss (our third in a row) it’s fair to expect a storm to start circling Paul Lambert and also to bring into question his ability to deliver for our great club. Here’s why…

Now, I’ve done a bit of analysis so this is by no means solely an impassioned rant but I see no other solution than to put Lambert on the block. This is not a call for his head as somewhere in there I believe he can do well for us however, he needs to get Benteke scoring, nay the team, else we will tread a path too similar to last seasons and personally I’m fed up with that kind of crap.

Statistically we fair virtually no different to last season so you might assume that we will track in line with last year’s nail-biting form however, I’d argue that we have got lucky this season, picking up points even when our opponents have hammered us i.e. Southampton away, and generally relying on Bradley Guzan to tidy up for the shaky defence. Our true form was shown against Fulham and ManUre – times when we just didn’t work hard enough to earn any points.

Let’s first look at Mr Lamberts performance compared to his peers who have also been employed by Randolph D. Lerner: You’ll see from the data below that Lambert is certainly not the worst hire in our recent history – you needn’t put stats together for that I hear you say – although if you are watching us at home you might be surprised to know that AM > PL (current form) [insert ‘eye popping’ emoticon here]:


It’s fair to say that our home form is embarrassing, a complete failure, 0 out of 10 if you want a grade for it. We set ourselves up as though we are playing away, on a pitch with a pristine surface that is wider / longer than most and quite unsurprisingly visiting teams just lap it up. Winning 1 in 4 at home over his time with us is appalling; the minimum you should expect for a competent team is to win 50% of your home games or at least not to lose more than 1 in 4 (you’ll note we have lost 52% of our home games so a complete reverse). Let’s not talk about Bradford City from last season shall we… Our current home form is the worst it has been under Lerner and seemingly far from the ‘glory’ days of M’ON. This surely hasn’t gone unnoticed by our aloof owner considering how keen he and Faulkner are about our corporate image, and it certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed by all of us. I’m frankly quite fed up with the home form being so terrible, but this alone is not our only issue.

In complete contrary to our home form, we seem to have picked up somewhat of a gimmicky tag for our away form. Playing deep and attacking with pace on the counter has earned us a reputation for being difficult to play against (or at least petulant) when visiting our opponents. We have lost only 5 (28%) league games on the road in the whole of 2013 - 3 of those coming from our 9 away games this season - and amassed a respectable 25 points from a possible 48. There is consistency to this form, Lambert has maintained these stats from last season and we are even running above our average in most categories. The issue here however is that you can never rely on your away form to keep you in the league. This has been best evidenced in the last 3 away games where we have been lucky, lacklustre and beaten. Lose this record, get ‘found out’ more so, and we are in a perilous position.

A striking statistic for me is that this season, as a team, we have failed to score in 9 of 17 league games (53%) compared to last season when it was only 32% (12 of 38 league games). This got me thinking about what Benteke means to us and most importantly what he means to Paul Lambert. Form aside, Lamberts requirement / reliance on Benteke has become incredibly obvious over the past 10 games and the stats prove it:


As you’ll notice, Benteke scores in at least 1 in 3 games, before his recent dip this was better than 1 in 2 – World class! His goals also provide a great deal of influence to the results, perhaps taking some pressure off the rest of the team or simply just being that good that he alone proves crucial to the result. The mere fact that we lose less and take almost 70% of the available points when he does score just shows how vital he is to our fortunes. The exact opposite is what we are experiencing now and the stats are all parallel to our form. When Benteke doesn’t score we take just 30% of the available points (34 points over a season, otherwise known as relegation form) and lose more than 1 in 2. The glaring failure of Lamberts team - and perhaps us as fans - is our reliance on Benteke. He is worth almost half our goals in the games that he has played and so we are obviously a lesser team without his performances. Granted, Lambert seems to have noticed this as he removed him from the starting line up today in a bid to build his fitness but I don’t have the belief that he has built a squad capable of covering off Benteke and I worry that the lack of leadership on the pitch just can’t win games.

In conclusion, I fear that Lambert is at a cross roads with regards the success of his tenure at Villa Park. He took on a tough job, perhaps one too tough, and is not delivering in my opinion. He reminds me of MO’N insomuch as he fits square pegs in round holes, relies too much on the same players and can never say a bad word about the ‘effort the lads showed’. If he gets Benteke back to his best then he may well save our season but we cannot look past the lack of leadership and quality on the pitch at present and that is a concern for the long term. In the minimum, to keep this ship on course, we should expect a top 10 finish come season end but I just can’t see it whilst we struggle for goals and continue to perform badly at home.

We are in for a tough second half of the season it would appear so prepare for it. We may also at some point be in line for a new manager but don’t let me tell you I told you so…

Edited by Tubby
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That is no surprise to me as being a student of performance rather than result( the ideology is that good performance leads to good results) I have been concerned that the decent results would dry up as a result of dwindling performances.


When in the past I have listened to Managers post match review, I get a good indication by what they say as to whether they know what they are doing....I have a dark opinion right now. I hear a manager hoping we havn't noticed.


I also get a dark feeling of melancholy when I hear managers say " its a results business" well we know that, but there is an awful lot of work that can go right or wrong that leads to those illustrious results.


Its like "Strictly come dancing" saying its all about the viewing figures....that may be so....but there is an awful lot of technical work to go in to getting those viewing figures and that is where folk earn their keep.


There are simply too many "throw away" comments coming out of our managers mouth.

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I suppose we should have seen it coming. The main reason Lambert kept Norwich in the prem in 2011/12 was probably Grant Holt's goals, without those might we even be having this conversation?

It all points to a downhill slide without Benteke's goals. Whilst Benteke doesn't always score pivotal goals, he does score and that's something the rest of the team seem incapable of doing.

I fear a struggle to the end and some embarrassing defeats along the way but if he can bolster the squad, a player like Tom Ince might help, we may have a chance to spread the load and take the pressure off all round. If not, who else might want the job and who else might be capable of doing it..?

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This is very poor analysis, more a half-baked attack on Lambert - absolutely pointless removing Bentekes goals, what does that prove?


Without Benteke Lambert would have signed someone else - how would that have worked out - you have no way of knowing


Liverpool without Suerez' goals would be about 7th - what does that prove? That teams struggle without the main guy employed to score goals.....brilliant


In comparing Lambert to other recent managers maybe you could weight that by the wage bill and you'd undoubtedly get a different outcome

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Interesting stats for sure.


I think we took for granted what we had under MON and the results that went with it. I just went back and checked some of the results Houllier got and they dont look that bad at all but maybe as he had MONs squad they were. Shame he wasn't given the kind of support Lambert has now because he really did try to get us playing proper football and redevelop the whole youth system but the fans weren't having any of it. Think it was about 3 months before chanting started for him to be sacked.


As for your other point about Benteke well that would be the case for most teams that have a top striker. Without Benteke we have one of the worst squads in the league last season, pretty sure if you took him out of our team and into any other of those below us then we would have gone down.

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the benteke stats are surely useless. you are saying we lost more games when he doesn't score. but with nothing to do with whether he was playing or not. if your striker doesn't score then of course you will lose more than when he does.

a better stat would be points scored with and without benteke, which may show the same but that's not the point.

as for comparing him to other managers under lerner it is possible to argue the budgets can play a larger effect on results than the managers ability, dependant on how restrictive they are.

so you might be right on both with what you're saying but we need to compare apple's with apple's.

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I think a further worrying thing about Benteke is that his impressive looking overall stats pale a bit when you look at the distribution of his goals. Of his 54 appearances for us, his goals have been distributed as follows:


Matches 1-10:    4

Matches 11-20:  4

Matches 21-30:  7

Matches 31-40: 10

Matches 41-50:  3

Matches 51-54:  0


So there has to be a question about which is the norm and whether matches 21-40 were just a flash in the pan. I hope not because, if so, we are well and truly stuffed.

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Lambert has what it takes.


You can do practically anything with statistics,


It's not Lambert's fault that Benteke is injured & at least he had the good sense to purchase Kozak before this so that we at least have cover.


I'm with Lambo 100%.


I'm with Lambert.... ain't so sure about the percentage.

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Tubby looking at the table you posted in the original post you have Houllier managing us for 38 league games. Kev Mac managed us for the first 5 games of that season and Gary Mcallister for the last 5 after Houllier became ill. For Houlliers 28 games in charge we secured 33 points at 1.17 points per game. Slightly better than Lambert with a much better squad and far more money (30 mill on 2 players) to spend.

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