This article has been prompted by seeing that by the second weekend of the new season we are already seeing articles posted bemoaning our teams performance already this season .
I do take on board and understand comments made in the outclassed outplayed article that the article was more than likely posted by a WUM quite possibly a Blue Nose who ventured out of his/her sty to stir things up on here .
To me i am very happy with the points tally out of the first three games and we all must understand and realise that our squad is not the finished article yet but very much work in progress under PL management and i did have some concerns about our first three games when the fixture list was published this season that we could have come out of those games with less points than we have .
The point i want to make to fans is cast our minds back to the last season and our first three games we started with two defeats and one draw over a three Saturday period with three goals scored and five conceded against far lesser teams than we have faced this season thus far . We have put in so far performances that i do feel no Club in the prem would be ashamed of and but for the lack of a referee to show more bottle we could have come from the Chelsea game with at least a draw this is a point that the special one admitted to and stated as much in post mach interviews .
What we need is now to keep on improving as a squad and playing as we have done in the first three games and we as fans may well be suprised by where we finish at seasons end if we can maintain or form through out the season if we do not set our expectations to high as fans we will not be disappointed come seasons end as for the article stating outplayed outclassed have a season off and come back when you wish to debate football not wind fans of Villa up .
Don't think setting our expectations too high is a problem. Ambition is fine. Lambert is intensely ambitious. Common sense says we are unlikely to make the top four, but I doubt if Lambert is looking for a comfortable mid-table spot either. Don't know where we'll end up but we'll certainly be trying to get as much as we can out of every game.
The problem is that there are "fans" around whose idea of entertainment is running the team down and seizing on any opportunity for a moan. The same "fans" got very upset on Vital Villa when the genuine fans took great delight after the Arsenal game in pointing out that they had gone extremely quiet. They were, of course, out in force after the Liverpool game.
The favourite argument of these "fans" is that hardly any of our squad are "premier league quality". The answer is to look around at the other premier league teams. There's very few teams which don't have a number of players who are no better than ours. There are very few who can match our best players.
Of the three games so far, only against Liverpool did we look off the pace, and then only for some of the time. The thing about the end of last season was that, well as we were playing, we were not of a standard which could get results against top teams. The matches so far this season show that we now are. We may not get many, but we can get some. That also means that against any of the other teams we should aim and expect to get results. A very interesting season lies ahead. 9th looks a reasonable bet. But don't rule out getting higher. To me anything less would be disappointing.
I would agree with you McParlandTheGreat regarding fans balancing ambition and common sense and i would also agree that any position around 8/10th at seasons end should be judged as a reasonable performance this season .
If we can build up momentum as we shown towards the end of last season then a higher placing could well be a possibility and even results allowing a out side chance of Europe may well be there for us .
Lets just take each game as it comes and relise that there will be games that some fans state we should have won but have lost or drawn but as you state this will be a very interesting season for Villa and also the first season i have looked forward too for along time .
It makes a welcome change to enter a season without a odds on chance of a relegation dog fight from xmas till seasons .
We were poor for the first 30mins or so on Saturday , we showed Liverpool far too much respect, Lambert must of told them to get in their faces & get closer to the Liverpool players 2nd half & we were far better & we probably deserved a draw but you don't always get what you get deserve !
I felt as Liverpool dropped back we lacked a little guile and creativity in the centre of the park !
As for expectations , when the fixtures came out i only expected 1pt from the first three games , so we are in credit already, although our first XI is not the best we have seen , we will be hard pushed to find a team as fit and full of endever as we have now, but, this will only take us so far, as things stand now i would expect a mid table finish with plenty of goals both for & against, if we can add a little more quality in the middle of the park we could be aiming a little higher ! UTV !
I don't think that my expectations are too high I expect to be entertained when watching a football match and as a villa fan expect that my team will entertain me each time I see them.
That doesn't mean they have to win every game but they have to compete, something we seem to have forgotten how to do under previous managers.
Lambert is building a very good side and I am happy with that, I think that circumstances beat us on Saturday not a declining Liverpool side, they are not a top team any more, they just played us at a good time for them. Had it been the first game they wouldn't have had a look in because they are not that good (Gerrard is past it by a mile - how does he get to be England captain - I have lost all interest in the national side and wouldn't be surprised if we didn't qualify)
I would be happy with steady progress and on from there, Lambert has the faith of most fans and we need to let the plan unfold.
The early signs of the new boys is good in my view and move us on.
Onwards and upwards.
A lot of teams would have taken the three fixtures we were given and taken 3 points including some potential top 6 wannabes. And an even goal difference too.
Only disappointment was first half against the Mickey mousers, first half was woeful but second half we could and deserved a point. But I still think if we equalised they could well have still won too.
We look far better than last year, we won't finish any higher than mid-table, but signs are good.
Still need to get rid of Ireland Given Hutton etc and think we still desperately need an attacking midfielder with a bit of creativity and another Centre Back.
Thought Okore was excellent even if he got stick for the goal and everyone did a job. Delph was MOM but his passing needs improving.
One last thing and a moan we need to pass the ball quicker.
1 - Liverpool's so called dominance consisted of ONE SHOT ON TARGET ALL MATCH. Yes, ONE SHOT on target! So although they were excellent for 30 minutes, Villa were good for the remaining 60. Mignolet earned three points for them with an excellent save and then a stupendous save.
2 - To the unbiased outsider, teams like Southampton, Cardiff, Norwich, West Ham, Swansea, Fulham etc have all spent mega money and will b EXPECTED to finish above Villa. Therefore, our expectations shouldn't be too big.
What e have seen is three committed, lively performances. We really coulddo with learning how to play at home and quckly but things aren't that bad.
One expectation I had is that Gabby would be recalled for England. Nope. He's not on Hodgson's radar.
The few times he has played for England he's done well. He's been unfortunate with injuries at critical times in the past. From our point of view it does mean he can put all his inconsiderable energy into Villa. From his point of view it's disappointing.
Agree with most, I am pleased with the points haul and the performances
as for the Liverpool game, we were not at the races for the first 35 mins i would say.
But i think its because we tried to play our counter attack game. Liverpool were playing possession based football around the middle but not over committing players going forward. We could not get at them per se.
Sturrdiges goal was wah .. that was well taken i have to say .. how he managed to squeeze it in up in that top corner falling away with the outside of his boot with two defenders on the line .. either he was jam lucky .. or that was the perfect finish in the circumstances.
but then we come into it in the second half. and it was down to a change in tactics.
we were tryign to be more patient and use possession to try and unlock them and we pushed luna forward to get some crosses into the box.
we didn't succeed and we didn't look like we had that danger or threat in Zone 14 as they call it or "the hole" or in the CAM area of the pitch but .. its something i wanted to see all the same.
Plan B for home games or defensive teams
We have to have something other than our 4-3-3 counter attacking option.
Teams will sit back at Villa park especially now that people know what they are up against with Villa.
We have to have a more pro active front footed approach and that to me means one of 2 ways
1) 4-2-31 or 4-4-1-1 or something that attacks from the midfield or the hole in order to unlock defenses.
of the current squad, that role may be filled by
Helenius, still adjusting, too soon for him, but i expect to see him play in the cup
Tonev, apparently exquisitely two footed ..he was a bit rash against liverpool so just a bit too soon for him yet, he maybe more suited to a LAM or RAM berth in an attacking mid role.
nZogbia maybe if he was fit but it seems he may be sold when he is fit, Gardner, Carruthers in Jan when he gets back if he has a successful loan spell at Mk dons,
Gardner ? some believe so, i am not sure, need to see him play more this year. maybe he is more of a box to box or deep lying play maker ( they are calling that the "regista")
or maybe we will sign someone before Sep 2nd? i doubt it to be honest but can't rule it out, there were tentative inquiries for kiyotake earlier, which suggests we were looking at that type of player
2) width - attack with crosses
it could be achieved by full backs or it could mean we revert to a more orthodox winger roles for our wide men but somehow i doubt it.
I think Lambert experimented with this during his 5-3-2 phase last year with wing backs providing the crosses. .. it ended up a more central counter attacking result which has morphed into our current 4-3-3 counter attacking front 3 with Benteke the lynch pin.
So .. who knows exactly
in my opinion i was delighted to see us keep the ball and try a different approach at home for the second half. counter attacking football will only take you so far .. we should know this after the Mon years
It just needs work. and maybe a different player to come through such as one of the new boys or a youth like gardner/carruthers etc ..
Love the sound of your 4-2-31 formation, Colonius - some might say it's a tad adventurous but I reckon, if we can get away with the extra 27 players, we should go for it!
ha I suppose i had that coming ..
Colonius, dont forget that Syllla coming back may also release Delph further forward into the position that he actually made a name for himself at Leeds - As the attacking midfielder, with an eye for a goal and a pass.
Sadly that creative player is Ireland and/or Bannan. Don't think Lambert is too concerned with either. Maybe better off, who knows.