Birmingham - Aston Villa's season went from bad to worse with a crushing 3-0
defeat by relegation rivals Wigan on Saturday that left the future of
under-fire coach Paul Lambert in further doubt.
Goals from Ivan Ramis, Emmerson Boyce and Arouna Kone ensured Villa went
scoreless in a third consecutive defeat, a run in which they have conceded 15
goals after losing 8-0 to Chelsea and 4-0 to Tottenham Hotspur.
Villa would have slipped into the relegation zone had third-bottom
Southampton not been denied victory in a 3-3 draw at Stoke City, and they now
sit behind Wigan, level on 20 points, in 16 and 17th positions respectively.
VIDEO: Aston Villa v Wigan
The victory was a boost for Wigan, the northern club having lost five and
drawn one of their last six Premier League games.
Spanish central defender Ramis made a perfect return from injury with a
headed goal for the visitors past Brad Guzan after just two minutes.
Villa were in the ascendancy for the end of the first-half and early in the
second period, Belgian Christian Benteke in particular causing problems.
But the home side were the ones to relent, conceding a brace of goals in the
52nd and 56th minutes.
First, Boyce struck home past Guzan after a neat one-two with Kone, and then
the Ivory Coast international was on hand to finish off any home hopes.
Picking up a through ball from Argentine strike Franco di Santo, Kone rode
Mathew Lowton's weak challenge to round Guzan and slot home from a tight angle
into an empty net.
Kone could have made it four for Wigan 20 minutes later but he failed to
control a huge kick from his keeper Ali al-Habsi that cleared the hapless Villa
The result, coming after previous humiliating defeats by Chelsea and
Tottenham, left Villa
It also closed an annus horribilis of a calendar year in which Villa managed
just six wins in 38 Premier League games, this most recent defeat meaning Villa
equalled their record number of 18 league losses, set in 1994 and 1999.