With just one goal in 112 games Karim El Ahmadi knows Villa’s midfield have shirked their responsibilities.
The goalscoring burden has been left to Christian Benteke and partners in crime Andi Weimann and Gabby Agbonlahor.
Or, to put it another way, none of the midfield who started against Newcastle have scored for Villa in the Premier League for 3,600 minutes.
They go to Norwich tomorrow with just Antonio Luna and Benteke having scored in the Premier League following last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to the Magpies. El Ahmadi is the only member of the starting midfield with a Premier League goal – a consolation strike in the 3-1 defeat to Everton over a year ago.
That has come in 23 top- flight games while Fabian Delph (54 Premier League appearances) and Ashley Westwood (34 outings) are yet to score.
Benteke was involved in 49 per cent of Villa’s goals last season and has already scored four of their five this term and El Ahmadi wants to redress the balance.
“Yes, we have to look at it because we can’t depend on Christian every game.
“He scored against Newcastle but we need to as well,” said the 28-year-old.
“You have to get into the box more but we have a way of playing and the midfield is not going too far forward, we are like a block. It’s hard but we have to learn.
“Now all of the teams are looking for Christian because we are playing a lot of balls to him and we have to try something else to let the opponent do something else.
“On Saturday, Newcastle pressed us from minute one and during the game we started to get deeper and deeper.
“There were big gaps between Christian and the defence and it was getting harder and harder in the first half. It’s not easy.
“It was tough, it was difficult especially in midfield because it was like we were getting there late all the time. It was like the gaps were too big and it was hard to get into the game.”
The gap was obvious against the Magpies as Moussa Sissoko, Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa outclassed Villa.
Defeat was a double blow after Jores Okore was ruled out for the rest of the season with a cruciate knee ligament injury.
And three straight defeats have tempered the early season optimism following the 3-1 win at Arsenal.
Boss Paul Lambert’s return to Norwich – his third since a bitter exit last summer – represents a chance to ease fears of an early season slump.
Norwich have lost just once at home in the Premier League in 2013 – when Villa beat them 2-1 in May – but El Ahmadi insisted playing away suits them.
He said: “As a player it’s the wrong way because we have to be confident to play at home well.
“We’re at our best when we counter and at home we have to make the game. That’s the thing which we have to get better with, to get points at home.
“That’s the difference. When we played Chelsea away they had a lot of the ball and we could counter them.
“The home fans have been excellent, last year they got us through and helped us stay in the league.”
Ciaran Clark is in line to replace Okore despite Nathan Baker’s recovery from an ankle injury while Charles N’Zogbia (Achilles) remains a long-term absentee. The Canaries have stuttered, winning just one of their opening four games, and lost 2-0 at Tottenham last week.
Striker Gary Hooper could make his debut after recovering from a shin injury which has sidelined him since his £5m move from Celtic.
Former Birmingham boss Chris Hughton could also recall Alex Tettey following the disappointing outing at White Hart Lane.