Sunday media watch [30.12.12]: Wigan newspaper reports
Sunday Mirror: Nobody at Villa Park will be sorry to see the back of 2012 - a year that has brought just six Premier League wins. But the fear for Aston Villa fans is that far from being the start of better things to come, it could get worse in 2013. For Paul Lambert's young team, despite occasional glimpses of promise, are becoming a side who have relegation written all over them. Their Christmas from hell ended with another humiliating home defeat making it 15 goals conceded and none scored. Handed an eight-goal thrashing by Chelsea, crushed 4-0 at home by a Gareth Bale-inspired Tottenham - and now this. Where is it going to end?
Mail on Sunday: Crisis club Aston Villa alarmingly dropped deeper into a Premier League relegation battle with another abject performance against Wigan. The visitors, meanwhile, moved out of the bottom three with a conclusive victory to record their first win in seven matches which highlighted Villa's dramatic shortcomings. Villa, watched by club owner Randy Lerner, never recovered from a disastrous start when Ivan Ramis gave the Latics a morale-boosting lead after only three minutes.
Sunday Telegraph: Randy Lerner endured an excruciating visit to Villa Park as Wigan condemned Paul Lambert to another painful defeat. Lerner, Villa's American owner, flew over from the States and will have been squirming uncomfortably in his seat after the visitors secured only their second win in ten games at an embarrassing canter. Villa's third successive defeat, in which they have conceded 15 goals, dragged them closer towards the bottom three and while Lambert has insisted he is not panicking, the stench of relegation is overpowering. Roberto Martinez, who has proven so adept at acts of escapology in the past, would not have expected such a comfortable outcome and this victory enabled Wigan to clamber above Villa in the table.
Independent on Sunday: The supporters of Aston Villa are surviving on gallows humour and ironic cheers. But for how long? Only three goals conceded this time. That's progress of sorts after shipping eight and four in the previous two games. It could have been worse for Villa. A late equaliser by Stoke's Cameron Jerome against Southampton kept them out of the bottom three. Hooray! Wisecracks are the flip side of despair and the boos that greeted the final whistle were a reminder that Paul Lambert does not have an endless pot of goodwill with which to play.
Sunday Express: Aston Villa alarmingly dropped deeper into a Premier League relegation battle with another abject performance and a 3-0 defeat against Wigan. The visitors, meanwhile, moved out of the bottom three with a conclusive victory to record their first win in seven matches which highlighted Villa's dramatic shortcomings. Ivan Ramis gave the Latics a morale-boosting lead after only three minutes before two goals in the space of four minutes early in the second half from Emmerson Boyce and Arouna Kone sealed Villa's fate as their confidence visibly evaporated. In the continued absence of such players as Darren Bent, Richard Dunne, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Charles N'Zogbia and Nathan Baker, the options open to under-pressure manager Paul Lambert are very limited as illustrated in this latest defeat.
BBC Sport: Wigan Athletic moved out of the Premier League relegation zone and above Aston Villa with an emphatic victory over their struggling hosts. Wigan made the perfect start when Ivan Ramis escaped his marker to meet Jean Beausejour's corner with a firm header. Brett Holman smashed a half-volley against the crossbar as Villa briefly threatened before the interval. Emmerson Boyce calmly slotted in after a superb one-two with Arouna Kone, who added the third from a tight angle. Hordes of frustrated Villa supporters headed for the exits immediately after Kone completed a routine win that lifts the Latics above Villa into 16th place. It was another difficult afternoon for Paul Lambert's men, who have endured a nightmare Christmas period with heavy defeats against Chelsea and Tottenham.
Sunday Mirror: Paul Lambert will meet Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner for crisis talks today after the Christmas holiday from hell. The Villa boss sat stunned as his young side collapsed 3-0 against Wigan yesterday. They have now let in 15 goals in three games over seven days.
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert insists he has "no regrets whatsoever" about becoming Villa manager despite their precarious Premier League plight. Villa's third straight defeat over the festive period has left them just one place and one point above the top-flight danger zone. It is a far cry from the feelgood factor at the start of the month when the claret and blues beat Norwich to progress to the Capital One Cup semi-final before winning at Liverpool in the Premier League. But although his former club, Norwich, are seven points better off in mid-table, Lambert still believes he made the right decision to quit Carrow Road for Villa Park in June.
Setanta Sports: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert says he is feeling disappointed after watching his side go down 3-0 at home to fellow strugglers Wigan but has vowed to fight on.
Mail on Sunday: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert was downcast after watching his side beaten 3-0 at home by fellow strugglers Wigan but still said his team would be 'fine'. Since winning 3-1 at Liverpool on December 15, Villa have suffered three heavy defeats in a row, conceding a total of 15 goals and failing to score once themselves. Only a last-minute Stoke equaliser against Southampton kept Villa out of the relegation places and Lambert said: 'The last three results have certainly hurt us.'
TalkSPORT: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert believes his side already face a 'battle' to avoid Premier League relegation, but adds that as many as nine other teams are in similar circumstances. The West Midlands club fell to a 3-0 defeat against Wigan at Villa Park on Saturday, their third consecutive heavy league loss, and Lambert has admitted his team face a tough test to retain their Premier League status next season.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.