If we as you say "we lack the ability to work it forward into promising positions in the final third" how's that tally up with the fact we're the second highest goal scores in the league, averaging almost 2 goals a game and the team who realises least of all on dead ball situations to score a goal?
I think it's been discussed thoroughly in here since you brought it up and perhaps I should have been more specific with my point.
I am criticizing attacks that start with center backs. We seem to lack the ideas to play through the first two lines of defense against any reasonably organized, hard-working side. The real issue this creates is that it keeps the ball in our half of the field, where our opponent is more likely to create a decent chance than we are. Not working the ball consistently into the final third is actually more of an issue in terms of controlling territory than overall chance creation for us (which is obviously not how I presented my ideas on the matter, as you noted).
As you said, our attack is doing just fine (although our success in this area is driven partially by high conversion rates, which tend not to be sustainable long-term) and we are excellent when we counter. My concern is that the slow build-ups from the center backs, over time, will lead to more good chances for our opponents than for us -- it didn't hurt us yesterday, but if Villa had a little more guile in attack, we may have seen some of their players taking an extra touch or two to create an angle dangerous pass or space for a better shot. It does hurt us against better teams, which is why our defensive record is so poor.
As has been mentioned, it's not as simple as switching to a pure counter-attacking approach. Frequently, we won't be allowed to sit back and counter, especially at home, so our possession game needs some sort of tweak -- either (1) a change in positioning during build-ups to get our playmakers on the ball in better positions with options ahead of them, or (2) a more aggressive counter-press so that we don't allow our opponents to start anything when they do get the ball from us.
Roberto's approach led to one wildly successful season but has proven maddeningly inconsistent over the past two and, on current evidence, I'm not sure he's going to mold this current group into one that performs every week (or most weeks) the way the best sides do.