Half Season Roundup (sort of)

We have reached and surpassed the halfway mark of the season, so between the 4 writers for this very opinionated site, so last week we thought it best to ask ourselves 5 simple questions and now seems to be a nice time to share the answers…

1) What are your thoughts on lambert, his position and future?

While I’ve tried to be positive and back Paul Lambert, I realise I’m going against my own instincts.
I think he’s proven to be a shocking manager for the Villa, even when you take all the factors working against him into account.
His intransigence in sticking with Gabby and Wiemann, when they’re so out of form has done it for me.
Unfortunately, I think he’s bombproof while Lerner is here, hence I want both of them gone.

Lambert’s position will be safe, and will continue to be safe. The reason behind this is the fact that Lerner has lost interest in our football club. I doubt that Lerner even knows the results of our recent matches! Having said that, I can see that Lambert is trying to change something but it’s not drastic enough. Lambert need’s to select the likes of Grealish and Cole more often than he has, he is to over reliant on Weimann and N’Zogbia who have often been very uneffective.

His position is unfortunately secure. His tactics and brand of football is the worst I’ve ever had the misfortune to watch at VP.

Mr_Cheese –
Lambert has been given a life line with his contract extension and much to the dislike of any of us, he is not going anywhere this season and once we stay up, he will remain next season as well.  I initially liked the guy, his ethic towards youth and the style of football he used, at least at Norwich. But it has been very on off at the villa and caused us much dismay. My issue is with the players he picks to start and the lack of substitution impact (which has improved recently). I’d like a fresh manager, with more tactics and influence at his fingertips but with Lambert, all I ask is that we sign some attacking players and get rid of Delph (unfortunately) and Vlaar to rid us of uncertainty and concentrate in the future.

2) Who is your AVFC player of the season so far?

Hutton made the early running and he’s still up there, but Sanchez looks a class apart to me. If he can keep things going and doesn’t get injured I suspect he’ll be my vote for player of the season full stop.

This is a tough one, but I’d have to say Ciaran Clark. At the start of the season many fans didn’t rate him any more, claiming that he can’t develop anymore, this included myself. Boy was I wrong, not only has Clark played in 13 games so far but he’s also scored a goal and formed a fantastic partnership with Okore. Baker and Okore have also impressed me immensely, but since Clark has played more, I’d give it to him. The performance of our defence demonstrates that there really is no need for Lambert to bring in a replacement for Vlaar.

Ooahpaulmcgrath –
Alan Hutton

Without a doubt, Alan Hutton. He has been the complete opposite of what we all thought he would be. Consistent and solid game in, game out. I’d even contemplate putting him up front!

3) Who is your worst AVFC player of the season so far?

There are a few contenders here, with Richardson, Gabby and Wiemann all in the frame, but  Tom Cleverley wins this one. I totally fail to see it with him.

I’ve been a little disappointed with Agbonlahor and Weimann, both have played 13 games and scored 3 goals, assisting another 3. Simply not good enough. 

Ooahpaulmcgrath –
Tom Cleverly

Mr_Cheese –
Worst player of the season for me is a hard one, I’d be tempted to say Wiemann but I think it is swaying towards Nzogbia. Neither have done much for the club this season but at least Wiemann has got on the score sheet. Nzogbia has been a complete flop since we brought him and it is a real shame because he had some potential and an opportunity to build on his form. He has been constantly bad game on game.

4) With the January window here, what realistic targets would you like to see brought in?

I don’t like predicting this sort of thing, but I have no doubt that whoever we do sign won’t excite me.
Lambert doesn’t do exciting and Lerner won’t spend the money, imo.

Spending all possible funds on an attacking midfielder! Villa were once linked with Popov, he’s a decent attacking midfielder who plays in Russia. He is on his final year of his contract and he is a decent, experienced player. Snap him up! I can also imagine that Cleverly will be signed, which I’m alright with, adds more depth to the squad. But please don’t spend more than £2-3 million.

Ooahpaulmcgrath –
No idea, expect us to be linked with £15-£20m players but ending up with loan players and more cheap misfits. More importantly are the players that we will keep.

Mr_Cheese –
I love the link with Fulhams Iven Christensen and hope this comes to light as a legitimate purchase.  Outside of this, I want to see more interest in players like Chris Martin from Derby or Ings from Burnley, maybe even Callum Robinson who is 22 and scored 13 in 27 for Bournemouth.  I don’t think Lambert should give our forward 3 the opportunity to get comfortable because they really don’t deserve it.

5) Where do you Aston Villa finishing at the end of the season?

After watching us give up 4 points out of 6 in the last two games that we really needed to win, I have no expectations whatsoever, save the fact that we’ll probably scrape survival.

I’d expect Villa to stay in the mid-table position, 12th place seems like a reasonable target. Unless of course Villa end up spending a fortune on new players to improve our squad, this seems incredibly unlikely.

Ooahpaulmcgrath –
Bottom 8 but avoiding relegation.

Mr_Cheese –
We will finish higher than previous seasons, but not by much and it all comes down who/ if we bring in this window. I’m saying 14th.


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  1. turv32
    turv32 January 7, 2015 at 3:57 pm . Reply

    Nice review chaps my thoughts are, lambert is god and can do no wrong, he is getting a 10 year contract tomorrow…
    Clark has been good this year a solid rock for us.
    Worst player must be Weimann…
    We need an attacking mid field we wont get one, just keep hold of Delph and Vlaar till end of season.
    We will finish 13th with 42 points.:-0

  2. Benno
    Benno January 7, 2015 at 4:47 pm . Reply

    I like the link to Christensen too. Think that is our most realistic target in January. Would love to see Ings as a partner for Benteke, but it would be suicide for Burnley to sell him in this transfer window, esp to one of their relegation rivals. Maybe in the summer though.

  3. Benno
    Benno January 7, 2015 at 4:51 pm . Reply

    In terms of player of the season so far, I think it has to be Hutton. Which begs the question as to why Lambert has isolated him for the last 2 years, spent 3m on Lowton and then tried to play Bacuna there! Aaaaahhh!!

    Sanchez has been immense in the last 6 or 7 games though and if he carries on this way, may well beat him to the award come the end of the season.

  4. Hitchens 60
    Hitchens 60 January 7, 2015 at 5:35 pm . Reply

    Great post guys – keep up the good work. I see OohAh is as taciturn as ever 🙂

    Whilst I don’t think PL will be booted out this season (unless he gets us relegated!) I don’t think he’s as bombproof as you say and next might be a different matter. I suspect he’s under pressure to improve our style of play and entertainment value and I don’t feel we should underestimate the influence of Tom Fox here.

    Player if the season; I agree with the Clarke / Hutton reasoning but I think Sanchez will oot perform the, come the end of the year.

    Worst player for me has to be N’Zog – complete waste of space.

    Not worried whether we keep Delph but we should keep Vlaar, at least to the end of the season.

    That’s my four pennies worth.

    1. Hitchens 60
      Hitchens 60 January 7, 2015 at 6:45 pm . Reply

      Apologies for all the typos – big thumbs disease!

  5. Hitchens 60
    Hitchens 60 January 7, 2015 at 6:04 pm . Reply

    I see ‘Sky sources’ are saying that we have opened talks with ManC for the transfer of Sinclair. I see this as a reasonable punt as long as we don’t pay over the odds

  6. jb
    jb January 7, 2015 at 6:16 pm . Reply

    We understand Aston Villa are in talks with Manchester City over a deal to sign Scott Sinclair but are currently falling well short of the Premier League champions £2.5m asking price. – Good work VILLA Negotiate down that £2.5M!

    1. OohAhPaulMcGrath
      OohAhPaulMcGrath January 7, 2015 at 9:55 pm . Reply

      What a joke we are ffs and some people think Lamberk will get £30m if we sell benteke lol

  7. Badger123
    Badger123 January 7, 2015 at 6:31 pm . Reply

    I forgot about N’zog for worst player!
    Yep, he’d be well up there, as much as I like him.
    Another one who’s been terrible this season, but the difference is he gets dropped.

  8. Andrew
    Andrew January 7, 2015 at 6:47 pm . Reply

    2.5m for Sinclair… Thankfully Villa have sense enough to know he’s not worth more than a million… And that’s pushing it.

    1. Badger123
      Badger123 January 7, 2015 at 9:28 pm . Reply

      You have to be kidding Andrew.
      Man City thought it was worth paying him a boat-load of dough, just to weaken the opposition.
      Please don’t fall into this trap where decent players are worth buttons.

      Delph at £1.5 mill, likewise Vlaar?

      No way are these decent valuations and it’s the same for Sinclair.

      I know times generally are hard for us in the real world, but they really aren’t when you look at the latest Premier league deal.

      The game’s awash with money and I can’t believe people are swallowing the supposed fact that clubs have nothing to spend.

      1. Andrew
        Andrew January 8, 2015 at 3:56 am . Reply

        They didn’t weaken anyone though, in fact they made Swansea better by paying them a host of money for a Championship player to sit on the bench making up the homegrown quota. And Sinclair’s not decent, he’s horrible. That was the point of the post, not to make it sound like we should get great players for nothing.

        The Delph and Vlaar money spouting around is garbage. We’d want at least 5-6 times that for Delph and probably 3-4 times that for Vlaar.

    GIDDYVILLAN January 7, 2015 at 7:30 pm . Reply

    Hutton for our best player so far pretty consistent imo, NZG worst he’s consistently SHITE with gabby & weimann coming close second.

  10. Andrew
    Andrew January 8, 2015 at 4:03 am . Reply

    It’s definitely getting hot in the rumour mill though.

    Cleverley rejecting us to sign for Everton on a free.
    L’Equipe (who also linked us to Belhanda in that whole debacle for what it’s worth) links us to Gignac. Although they are pretty reliable. Seems we do want a striker.
    Seems a fair bit going around, including some worthy Spanish reports claiming we’re willing to match Carlos Gil’s 7.5m Euro buyout clause. Very good young attacking midfielder.
    And finally we’re linked with 19 year old Dimitri Cavare to replace Lowton, a 19 year old RB from RC Lens.

    1. Hitchens 60
      Hitchens 60 January 8, 2015 at 8:55 am . Reply

      Not bothered about Cleverley; my understanding is that he can’t sign for Everton until the summer as we have a season long loan.

      1. Hitchens 60
        Hitchens 60 January 8, 2015 at 8:59 am . Reply

        Should have added ‘on a free until….’ Not sure what the position is if Villa don’t take up the option to buy him in January but assume Manure would recall the loan and demand a fee.

      2. OohAhPaulMcGrath
        OohAhPaulMcGrath January 8, 2015 at 11:00 am . Reply

        As if things can’t get any worse for Everton he’s crap rather them than us lol

        1. Andrew
          Andrew January 8, 2015 at 11:29 am . Reply

          Too be fair, a lot of fans thought Gibson was crap until he went there and he was while nothing more than average, it’s plausible they could get Cleverley to that point too.

    2. ifiruledtheworld
      ifiruledtheworld January 8, 2015 at 1:56 pm . Reply

      I’m not entirely convinced on the Cleverley snub rumour, I’d actually been expecting this to resurface since he signed for us on loan. I first read it in the daily mail.. lazy journalism? Who knows, I still think he could be a decent player for us, only at 2-3 million though. Does anyone really care where Cleverley ends up?

      1. Adam
        Adam January 8, 2015 at 2:33 pm . Reply

        I personally didn’t really want him here as I didn’t think we needed him. I hope Everton get him! I prefer Westwood and Sanchez.

    #HELENIUS January 8, 2015 at 3:45 pm . Reply

    Carles Gil is that good, Valencia are ready to offload after just 8 league appearences. They may just be financially desperate.

    Similar with Gignac (i’v not actually seen that rumour). 12 goals in 19 games, are they really going to let him go unless we pay way over the top (something we all know wont happen) or are desperate for money (valued at £8-10m ). Perhaps though, he’s the beasts replacement !!!!

    I really hope Cleverley wants Everton and we don’t waste what little money we have on him.

    Also hope we don’t get in a French league 2 player in Cavare, young yes, good enough…I highly doubt it.

    I’d personally like Aaron Hunt (Wolfsburg) or Alexandru Maxim (Stuttgart) as AM options, the latter definitely being somebody we could get.

    1. Andrew
      Andrew January 8, 2015 at 4:35 pm . Reply

      He has a release clause, they have no choice. Valencia has a new owner, so they’re not financially desperate anymore.

      And he could be good enough… Koscielny clearly was, playing Ligue 2 football.

      Maxim is a player I’ve wanted as well. And should try getting.

      1. #HELENIUS
        #HELENIUS January 8, 2015 at 4:53 pm . Reply

        Got me with the release clause, forgot about that!!

        Ye see what your saying but I’d hate to waste money on another Bennett or Luna.

        I’d like to see a proven full back come in instead, someone who will push Hutton to keep playing well

        1. Andrew
          Andrew January 8, 2015 at 11:22 pm . Reply

          I know. But it seems Lowton to Bolton is bs. So who knows.

          Still don’t think Luna was given a fair shake.

  12. jb
    jb January 8, 2015 at 3:46 pm . Reply

    I know many won’t agree with me, especially as it does not show on the pitch, but in some respects there has been a spine of quality introduced to Villa through Lambert and I believe if the club (and hopefully this is happening with Mr Fox), it could challenge comfortably for Europe and put bums on VP seats again.

    I’ve done a run through of how, if we could convince certain players to stay and that we have some sense of ambition (appreciate it appears we don’t), that a good squad could be built that contends on Europe’s and potentially could be exciting to watch (lambert did manage that at Norwich).

    Att: Kozak, Benteke, Ings (Free), Weimann, Agbonlahor, Robinson
    Mid: Delph, Sanchez, Westwood, Cleverley (free end of season), Cole, Grealish, Gardner, Sinclair (£2.5m), Holtby (£5-6m?), Gil/Lennon (£5-6m)
    Def: Vlaar, Okores, Baker, Clark, Senderos, Hutton, Cissokho, Lowton
    GK: Guzan, Given, Siegriest, Steer

    So for potentially £14-£15m adds to the squad attacking pace, some attacking creativity and goalscorer – all which we need and good players IMO.

    Get rid, even for free in most cases, N’Zogbia, Richardson, Tonev, Sylla, Bennett, Luna, Stevens, Herd, Bacuna, Helenius.
    Wages would be maybe £5m p.a. higher and maybe net spend £10m – but a more concentrated and quality of squad.

    Yes we can all dream, but how hard could that be with some ambition form an owner and not ridiculous money…
    I’d go and watch that squad give it a god in a game.

    1. Mr_cheese
      Mr_cheese January 8, 2015 at 5:44 pm . Reply

      Fancy putting those thoughts into a full blown article? It’s a good opinionated comment that could be expanded and discussed properly.


  13. OriginalLondonLion
    OriginalLondonLion January 8, 2015 at 5:31 pm . Reply

    JB you put a lot of thought into your list. I do not see Villa buying anybody that any other EPL club (apart from their present club) wants though. That rules out Ings, Sinclair and Holtby. We could still get Lennon.

    Vlaar is injured for 6 weeks and I would take a bag of sweets to shift him now, by the time he is fit and match fit there will only be few games left. Delph can go but only for a reasonable sum for a current England player, say 8m.

    Agbonlahor can only fit into a Villa team containing Benteke, as Benteke’s alternate on the bench or as left back. He would be better going forward than Sissoko and I think he can tackle well.

    I would keep Luna and Bacuna, and have never seen Stevens kick a ball yet so no opinion, all others on your list I agree for room 101.

  14. Andrew
    Andrew January 8, 2015 at 5:55 pm . Reply

    Guys… Guys… HOLTBY is out on LOAN. He’s not going to be signed in January. It doesn’t matter, not gonna happen, not now, not in 2 weeks.

  15. JB
    JB January 8, 2015 at 9:41 pm . Reply

    Thanks Mr Cheese – i will do if i get chance tomorrow.

    Origionalondonlion/Andrew – i see this as an important transfer window and juncture in respect of how the next few years could potentially play out as a club. I see the spine of a squad there in Vlaar & Okores, Delph & Sanchez with Benteke up top. Yes there are better spines of other teams but as we know we cant compete with those teams. Out of the top 5, i actually believe as a 5 on song they will prove to be very good. Then fill in a few others around who are solid such as Hutton, Cissokho, Cleverley (solid nothing amazing but cost is key), Kozak, Weimann and a few new signings as i mentioned as its not too bad potentially as a team/squad, with some pace, creativity and goals at good value.

    I appreciate Holtby is not available at present, but i’m looking towards next season with that signing as with Ings. The reason i say show ambition this window and outline where we are heading, is to convince the three i expect to leave that we can offer them something – Delph, Vlaar and Benteke. Otherwise they leave, 3 of the 5 of the spine disappear, 2 for free, and where are we at again? further behind where we are now. I read comments Vlaar is injured alot, and delph can do one, but if we are being brutally honest we cant afford to lose them unless its for decent money – and that wont occur. Yes it may not change the minds of those players, but it feels like we have to show them some reason to stay otherwise it’ll be another season of moaning about Lambert – and i cant imagine its not his fault contrats were’nt offered to those two earlier. It seems a stick or twist is in order – because if those 3 leave, you cant see Sanchez staying too long as he has looked a class apart IMO

    1. Andrew
      Andrew January 9, 2015 at 3:21 am . Reply

      Missed the Ings on a free part somehow so it makes about the signings now.

      I hope Sinclair doesn’t come off. We surely need to be looking at actual quality wingers. Gil and Lennon are a bit different as Gil is an AM and actually good. I just hope the fact he’s coming in as a creative spark, people don’t expect 100 assists out of him instantly. Which Villa fans tend to not give players enough of a chance. (I know, I’m putting Sinclair down a lot on here and if he came, I’d gladly give him till the end of the season but I don’t wanna see him in).

      Hey, I’m with you on Delph and Vlaar. We need either at least 7-8m fees or let them run their contracts down and leave for free. I honestly don’t think Benteke will leave either in January or this coming summer. Nor do I rate Delph enough to think he should be the spine of the team when Westwood’s better than him. Delph’s a good player, hard working but that’s as far as that goes. Decision making, passing, technical skill isn’t there to be the spine of a team who’s wish to be in Europe in a few seasons. Vlaar I’ll hate to see go when he does but I do believe we can find a replacement. Britos would be my top choice and Napoli aren’t exactly using him correctly or at all most of the time so I do think it’s a plausible option.

      As for the spine, Benteke, Sanchez, Westwood, Vlaar and Guzan for me is the spine of the team. Okore is clearly getting better but so is Clark and Baker, and Okore’s not out doing either one when they’ve played, so I think it’s a bit too early to get worried about if he’s going to leave, which I have my doubts but you never know, that he’d be that big of a miss on current form. Clark and Baker like Okore also have a lot of time on their side. And again, replacing is always an option, but as long as we have a solid CB base, which we will always have two as I don’t see Clark or Baker leaving or pushing for a move, we will be fine there.

      I also don’t think Sanchez is gonna leave, not sure where he’d move too, maybe a better Serie A or La Liga side than us IE: Fiorentina, Inter, Sampdoria, Valencia, Sevilla type… But at that is about it. I don’t see anyone in the Prem taking him from us nor do I think he’d be in any hurry to leave unless a big money side came in for him who’d offer him twice what we’re paying, IE: Liverpool, City, United, Chelsea, etc.

      I actually like Cleverley, I think as a squad player/starter he is good enough for us, no he’s not great, no he’s nothing special, nor will he ever be, but he’s not the shite a lot of fans claim he is and no we don’t need him for quality reasons as he’s better than what we have, but it seems people forget depth is IMPORTANT especially at Villa with a usual laundry list of injuries. Westwood and Sanchez are probably our best midfield team if we ever went to two but if we lose Cleverley and Delph, we have no one to back them up once one gets injured, or inevitably they get suspended for 5 yellows. Cleverley’s more than good enough to take a spot and play 15-20 games as a starter/sub player, if not more. Or we’ll be again looking for midfielders as subs for the future. We simply can’t get by on having 3 midfielders, it doesn’t work like that, much like if Vlaar goes, we clearly can’t get by half the time with 5, let alone 4. And we were often in a terrible position when we had 3 out of 4 fit last season and Lambert played 3 at the back and one got injured.

  16. ifiruledtheworld
    ifiruledtheworld January 8, 2015 at 10:01 pm . Reply

    Bit of an update for you on Sinclair and Gil. James Nursey has come out and said that he expects Villa to sign a winger and an attacking midfielder. He later said that he fully expects that winger to be Scott Sinclair. After being at the Villa today he said Sinclair to us is edging ever closer and that talks have been promising. A deal is possible next week.

    With Gil, all the updates you’ll really need are on this American site, they give a good description of the player here.


  17. OriginalLondonLion
    OriginalLondonLion January 9, 2015 at 11:45 am . Reply

    Well Scott Sinclair is looking likely. Which iteration of the player will show up? The smart winger that Swansea had, or the misfit that did nothing on the pitch for the Baggies and never got a chance at Citeh.

    Ireland – what a horror show he was – is a chilling warning of the dangers of taking Citeh misfits. There is no doubt we have a slot for a decent right winger but who gets displaced for him?

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