Villa Up Next
It's our annual trip to Villa Park this weekend, so over to Vital Villa we go again.
1) Is the season going as you expected and what has been the highlight and lowlight so far?
In many ways yes, we knew with Lambert it would take time as he changed the ethos of the club in terms of our playing style, so we will have up and down moments and then moments where we simply don't deserve what we get. But it's a process we need to bare with, understand and despite the moments of anger and the moments of stupidity, this is something we should've done years ago but didn't. Pre season was up and down results wise simply because players need to adjust, new players need to bed in and that's still the case as our late signings need to adjust to the league. Obviously low lights for me are Everton and Southampton because we didn't show what we could. West Ham had positives, Newcastle definitely, and Swansea most certainly, but it'll come I'm sure.
2) Are you pleased with the transfer dealings of the club?
Like many fans, I'd have liked to have seen a bit more experience come in, but I can't fault the policy of taking chances on potential talent from lower leagues. In time we could have some real gems on our hands, but they're obviously not going to hit the ground running or have that consistency immediately - which is the worry after our last few seasons.
3) Where do you see your current weaknesses this season? Any clues for the game will be greatly appreciated :-)
I still recognise this question! :-)
It's purely understanding that we lack. It's not natural yet, that's our weakness. We don't know if we'll get a Swansea or Southampton for example. It only needs a couple of key players for us to not be at their best and it will cost us on any given day.
4) Who will be your key dangerman?
Have to be predictable and say Darren Bent, maybe Gabby if he starts though. Possibly Bannan if he can get a grip on midfield. The others are still bedding in like Benteke, so it's unfair to rely on them especially in a derby like this. Our experienced players have to step up to the plate and be counted.
5) Who is your star signing of the summer?
By the end of the season I have no doubts that it will be Ron Vlaar who takes that title, and I would hope pushing a close second would be Christian Benteke.
Over the years we've had some very good centre halves, and Vlaar is in that mould from what we've seen of him so far. Only going to get better with experience.
6) Where do you see Albion finishing this season?
Below us? Maybe not this time around again unfortunately. Lukaku was a very shrewd bit of business, so I see you in and around 10-12th place again come the end of the season.
7) What do you think of the appointment of Steve Clarke to what is his first management job?
A bit risky but it seems to be working out so far. He may not have held the top job before but he is hugely experienced and worked with a variety of managers he'll have taken something from. From what I've seen there were plenty of doubters when his name came out, and nobody knows how good he'll be in a decade, but with this background I don't think he'll spend long out of the top flight as his career moves on.
8) If you could take one of our players, who would it be and why?
I still like the look of Craig Dawson and Shane Long. But I'm still gutted you got Long.
9) Who do you see as our main threat?
Shane Long or Lukaku, depending on who starts. Between them they can create and score.
10) What weaknesses in our team do you think you'll be looking to exploit?
From what I've seen I think we'll be looking to make the most of your fullbacks and balls threaded through the center. Keep you back peddling as much as we can to force a mistake, simply so you can't get it down through the middle because of Yacob (is it?) and Mulumbu.
We don't do much with width in the traditional sense now, but that could be our best shot. The game will be won or lost with the midfield battle though.
11) Finally, a prediction please fellow football fan...
You'll want to keep your start going, and we'll want to prove a point after the Southampton loss - I don't say this often, but I can't get 3-3 out of my head at things stand.
With thanks to Mike_Field!
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