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In Off The Post: The Sam Matterface column

In his latest Sports Mole column, Sam Matterface runs the rule over Randy Lerner, Manchester City and a goal-shy Bafetimbi Gomis.

Randy handy with his views

Spin, PR, nonsense. Call it what you like, but Randy Lerner is certainly trying his best to wash his hands of the problems at Aston Villa with his statement about his new manager.

"We recruited aggressively this past summer and it is our responsibility to now harvest this talent rather than buckle under pressure and criticism - we are better than that."

No you didn't and no you aren't. The net spend at Aston Villa was £9.3m. Watford's net spend was £23m. That, I think, is spending that is a little more worthy of the adjective.

Aston Villa had a squad that was in need of a total overhaul at the end of last season and they also lost their best three players in Ron Vlaar, Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke.

In the last five seasons, including the current campaign, 13 clubs have been ever present in the Premier League. Villa's net spend in that period was the 12th least. The only reason they aren't bottom of that list is because Tottenham sold Gareth Bale for £80m.

Aston Villa's US owner Randy Lerner looks on before the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and West Ham United at Villa Park, Birmingham, West Midlands, England, on August 14, 2010© Getty Images

They did not, they have not, and they won't spend aggressively while Lerner is in control. No-one is buying the assertion that Aston Villa have.

The support at White Hart Lane on Monday was great as usual, but how the fans have not launched a sustained campaign for change in light of what has happened in the last 12 months, I really don't know.

Maybe after seven managers (including caretakers) since the start of 2010-2011, they have just become resigned to it.

The final part of his four-sentence statement is this: "On behalf of the board we wish Remi every success."

Sadly, not all wishes come true. If they did Lerner would have got his wish already and sold the club he clearly has very little interest in.

Man City need to be sharp in Seville

Sevilla were the better side in Manchester on matchday three, and Borussia Monchengladbach must still be smarting from their defeat to City in Germany.

It's funny how unless you'd seen both those games you might think Manuel Pellegrini's side had finally cracked it in Europe.

They haven't. They could have conceded three or four at Monchengladbach with perennial heroes Joe Hart and Sergio Aguero pulling them out of the fire. City were outplayed for large parts of the game against Unai Emery's team and struggled to keep tabs on Yevhen Konoplyanka.

Should they win tomorrow and Juventus do likewise, City will qualify for the last sixteen with two games to spare, but a victory is no certainty. Sevilla have tended to save their best for European competition in the last few years.

Unai Emery, coach of Sevilla gives instructions with Manuel Pellegrini, manager of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City and Sevilla at Etihad Stadium on October 21, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom.© Getty Images

The La Liga club sit 12th after a weekend defeat to Villarreal, but after their first game with City they thrashed Getafe 5-0.

Ever Banega and Kevin Gameiro, both important in the first leg are doubtful, but City are missing their two best players and have a history of Spanish struggles, winning once on seven visits.

The Champions League is becoming a bit of an obsession inside the corridors of power at City, with Vincent Kompany saying ahead of the tie: "For us as players, it's the last thing we have to achieve in order to prove we have become a big club."

The fans seem less fussed. It's ridiculous UEFA are sanctioning them for booing the Champions League anthem, but many of the home games in Europe have been played against hushed tones and a sprinkling of empty seats.

Baffled by Bafe

What's happened to Swansea City's star man? He was prolific at the start of the season and that panther celebration was clawing its way up and down the country but there's less of the animal instinct about him now.

Swansea striker Bafetimbi Gomis celebrates after scoring the second swansea goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Manchester United on August 30, 2015© Getty Images

The Frenchman hasn't scored since that run of four goals in his first four games, and he has missed presentable chances, especially against Watford and Arsenal. Confidence is a funny thing!

Blue Weekend

Jose Mourinho is still in a job, and when you look at Chelsea's recent managerial history you can't help but be surprised.

As I said last week, sacking him would be the wrong choice, and I maintain it.

Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho reacts during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London on October 31, 2015© Getty Images

However, I was concerned to hear Frank Lampard say this week that the team looked "broken" when they went to press Liverpool, and that he was worried about the spine of the team.

Lampard won three league titles and four FA Cups with Chelsea. He knows that dressing room, and his views will concern an already-panicked Chelsea support.

Managerial Madness

Arsene Wenger is the exception to the rule with his 19 long years in charge of Arsenal.

Did you know that when the Premier League began in 1992 the average tenure of a manager in the top flight was three years and three months? Taking Wenger's stats out, it's now one year and three months.

Seriously, how do clubs expect to achieve anything when they are turning over managers with such regularity?

Arsene Wenger the manager of Arsenal looks on during the Capital One Cup fourth round match between Sheffield Wednesday and Arsenal at Hillsborough Stadium on October 27, 2015 in Sheffield, England.© Getty Images

Surely this is one of the greatest barriers to bringing through English talent, because there is no way a manager is going to risk gambling on a precocious talent when they are always three games away from the sack.

Not to mention the identity of the club, the constant desire of the new man to bring in players to suit his style and the cost of paying off all the managers you discard!

We used to think the Italians and the Spanish were crazy switching bosses every year. Now we are bonkers too.

Sam Matterface will be commentating for ITV Sport on their Champions League highlights show this Wednesday at 10pm as Chelsea face Dynamo Kiev. He will also be behind the mic on Saturday and Sunday for talkSPORT on their live Premier League games at Stoke City and Aston Villa.

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Olivier Giroud (C) of Arsenal celebrates scoring his team's first goal with his team mates Per Mertesacker (L) and Mesut Ozil (R) during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Arsenal at Liberty Stadium on October 31, 2015
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Premier League in numbers: Week 11

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States20231659
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12191344
Great BritainGreat Britain10101232
Today's Olympic highlights header

Monday's key events

· There are no Brits in the women's 100m hurdles final, but Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, fresh from breaking the Olympic record in the semis, will hope to pip world record holder Kendra Harrison to gold (3.50am)
· The women's 5000m final also has no Team GB representation, but two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya will be looking to add an Olympic gold to her list of honours (1.40pm)

· The women's skiff 49er FX (6.33am) and men's skiff 49er (7.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races

· A place in the women's gold medal match is up for grabs, starting with an all-North American semi-final between United States and Canada (9am)
· Australia, who edged past Team GB's in a seven-goal quarter-final thriller, take on Sweden in the second semi-final (12pm)

· The track cycling schedule gets underway, with Team GB holding a particular interest in the team pursuit qualifying. Laura Kenny is part of the women's team (7.54am), while the men's team includes Ed Clancy (9.02am)

· The Gadirova twins Jessica and Jennifer will both take part in the women's floor final as they look to add to their team bronze (9.57am)

· Newly-crowned European champion Emily Campbell flies the flag for Great Britain in the women's +87kg, but faces stiff competition for medals from China's Li Wenwen and New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard (11.50am)

· The women's hockey quarter-finals begin, with Team GB last up against Spain (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right
Scottish Premiership
Pre-Season Friendlies
Trophee des Champions
Taca da Liga
Belgian Pro League
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Belarusian Premier League
Major League Soccer
Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
Liga MX

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