Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Mid table for a new look Villa

It wasn't a massive surprise to see Villa part company with Alex McLeish following a terrible end to the season which saw them only realistically secure their Premier League survival in their penultimate game with a 1-1 draw with Spurs. Another Scot was brought into replace ‘Big Eck’ in the form of Paul Lambert following an incredible three years with Norwich City. Lambert took no time to dive into the Eredivisie with the additions of Karim El Ahmadi and more importantly the Dutch centre half Ron Vlaar.

Villa started the previous campaign well, going seven games unbeaten and come the middle of the season they occupied the middle of the Premier League; however once Darren Bent’s season was finished prematurely due to injury away at Wigan in and around the same time the impressive Robbie Keane’s loan deal expired, Villa struggled to score goals and only won one of the last 16 matches. All season the club only won seven games, with only bottom club Wolves only winner fewer, leaving most Villa fans praying for the end of the season and the departure of their unpopular manager.

It’s a really big season for the likes of Barry Bannan and Marc Albrighton whom have to put their inconsistency behind them and fulfil their obvious potential if Villa are to have a good season. Having lost Ashley Young and Stewart Downing last season, Bannan and Albrighton have the credentials to ensure big money isn’t needed in an attempt to replace the creativity Villa lacked last season. If these two youngsters aren’t ready then Steven Ireland will have to re-discover his Manchester City form.

Key player – Darren Bent It’s fair to say Villa missed their £24million striker when the England international’s ankle injury finished his season at the end of February. In the 38 Premier League games played for the Villa since his arrival in the January transfer window of 2011, the former Spurs man has 18 goals, and the burden will lay heavily on him to be in and around the 20 goals, which he has consistently done at this level.

Villa will need Bent's goals if they are to have a successful season

Verdict – 11th Paul Lambert’s first season in charge won’t see them challenge for Europe, but it really is about rebuilding at the club, and their young manager is the right man. Expect an improvement in the style of football at Villa Park and maybe a good cup run.

View from a fan – @Studav19

What would be an ideal season?
After last season I’d be very happy with a decent cup run as well as challenging for Europe

What would be a nightmare season?
A nightmare would definitely be finishing lower than last season and being relegated to the Championship.

Have you got the right manager?
I believe Lambert is the right man for the job. Given the backing he really can wake the sleeping giant that is Villa over the next 2-3 years.

Which other Premier League player would you like to sign?
There’s too many! But realistically a good one would be Adam Johnson

How key is a fit Darren Bent to achieving your clubs goals this season?
If his head and heart is in it he’ll be a huge bonus to us this season but he needs the support.

Are there any young players we should look out for this season?
I’m a huge fan of Nathan Baker, he’s a very good young centre half. Also Nathan Delfouneso may find his form under Lambert. 

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