Monday media watch [04.11.13 AM]: West Ham reaction
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert insists Villa's young players are progressing much quicker and further than he thought and will challenge the top six in a few years. Lambert continues to look at "the bigger picture rather than the small view" after his team ground out a point with a goalless draw at West Ham. The claret and blue faithful have mixed views on how far their team have advanced from last season. They have 11 points compared to nine a year ago. But Lambert was encouraged by his team's resilience at Upton Park on Saturday and insists his good young players deserve perseverance and trust.
Birmingham Mail: Andi Weimann looks set to miss Villa's home match against Cardiff this weekend - but Fabian Delph is expected to return to action. Weimann hurt his hamstring during the scoreless stalemate at West Ham and Villa would prefer him to rest during the international break, rather than rush him back at Villa Park on Saturday. Delph missed the draw at Upton Park after being sent home from the training ground with a sickness bug on Friday, but it is hoped it is only a short-term illness.
Birmingham Mail: It took place on EastEnders territory - but it simply proved that Aston Villa are at a Crossroads this season. When a pair of Villa-supporting pals on the Tube back from Upton Park couldn't agree on whether it was a positive point or a negative performance it showed how Paul Lambert's team are regularly splitting opinion, if not opposition defences. In a 3-5-2 formation, Ron Vlaar, Nathan Baker and Ciaran Clark helped Brad Guzan keep a clean sheet that Dot Cotton's launderette would have been proud of - and that's three successive shut-outs on the road now. But in Ray Winstone's manner it was less Nil By Mouth and more nil by month as Villa carried their barren run from October into November, extending their drought to over four games (375 minutes) without a goal. Lambert and his coaches, particularly defensive specialist Scott Marshall, deserve credit for tightening up a backline that undermined Villa's attacking efforts last season, even if striker-less West Ham didn't represent the toughest of tests.
Express & Star: As Villa searched for the elusive breakthrough, their luminous shirts were the only thing to puncture the London gloom. In the midst of a 375-minute goal drought, that they drew 0-0 with West Ham on Saturday was not as surprising at their kit. But like their strip, there were still bright spots and while a dour draw was instantly forgettable, it still yielded a point. A game which West Ham dominated saw Villa claim a positive result, extend an unbeaten away run to three and show, without several players, that they can fight. But a lack of goals is a concern, their last coming from Andi Weimann's winner against Manchester City in September.
Daily Star: Ashley Westwood is not worried that Aston Villa have now gone 375 minutes without scoring. The midfielder would rather focus on the three successive clean sheets they have kept away from home. In fact, the last the Midlanders defence was breached on the road was at Chelsea way back on August 21. Guardian: For Villa, who lost Andreas Weimann to a hamstring injury which could keep him out for a couple of weeks, they could take heart from a resilient defensive performance that Paul Lambert felt proved his young side, who have gone 375 minutes without a goal, are maturing every week. Lambert is patient with his youngsters. "You've got to have a vision," he said. "You've got to see the bigger picture rather than the small view really."
London24: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits that he is surprised that his side top the league with over a quarter of the season gone but he called on his side to refocus for the upcoming challenges. Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey fired the goals to sink high-flying Liverpool on Saturday, with Wenger delighted with the progress made since Arsenal's opening-day 3-1 humiliation at the hands of Aston Villa. He said: "After the Aston Villa game, if I had told you that, I would have had to run away because you would have killed me! "It shows you that it can change quickly, but that should as well alert us that it can go the other way. "We must keep good focus, and continue to develop our team, our best team, and there's room for improvement."
Best of the Rest
BBC Sport: Steven Caulker's towering header gave Cardiff victory over Swansea in the first Premier League meeting between these fierce south Wales rivals. Cardiff captain Caulker rose above visiting defender Chico Flores after 62 minutes to direct Craig Bellamy's corner past goalkeeper Michel Vorm.
Sky Sports: Kolo Toure insists Liverpool are still capable of winning the Premier League title following Saturday's 2-0 defeat at leaders Arsenal. Liverpool fell five points behind Toure's former club after goals from Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey secured Arsenal an eighth win in 10 games.
BBC Sport: Sven-Goran Eriksson says he signed a contract in 2002 to take over from Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Ferguson retired this summer after 26 years in charge at Old Trafford but had announced his intention to stand down in 2002 before reversing the decision.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.