Thoughts and issues regarding the past and present of a great football club by "The Chronicler".

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Villa Have Renewed Their Licence ...

Villa's licence as members of the Premier League has been renewed thanks to an overloaded Wigan schedule. The highs they must have obtained on Cup Final day came to nought within days as the main purpose of the season - the League - brought them cruelly down to earth.

Wigan's ambitions proved to be their undoing whilst Villa live to fight another day. And the opportunity even remains for Villa to win their last game at Wigan to rise even higher in the table. That really would be rubbing salt into Wigan's wound.

Paul Lambert really has to be given credit for sticking to his guns and following through what he believed in. He didn't orchestrate what went on in the previous two seasons and inherited a sad financial situation in the club and (expensive) players that clearly didn't pull their weight. He tried with Ireland, Bannan, Holman and Bent and also El Ahmadi (Lambert's own signing) but he clearly could see that they were not going to fit the bill he had in mind. He identified which players had enough fire in their bellies.

Since the beginning of February we have witnessed a remarkable transformation following the reconstruction of the team, with Benteke scoring 14 league goals - apparently the third highest total for 2013 in the world. By the end of the season, there's a semblance of a team in view now... players like Delph have grown immeasurably, and the rest of the midfield is beginning to look as though they're good.

It's a definite case of 'May auld acquaintance be forgot!', for I'm sure the hurt that the owner and his appointments imposed on the club's long-suffering fans (since 2010) will be put behind us from hereon in. Paul Lambert must have gained great insights from the last 4 months of the season and - crucially - solidified in his mind what he needs to do to make next season a much better one.

Hail St. Paul!! Don't tell me he doesn't know how to motivate players: he clearly does.

All we need to do next season is for Villa to win the FA Cup - 57 years after they last won it in '57! That accomplishment would put the supporters in a much better frame of mind. That combined with a mid-table (or higher) finish would be reasonable targets next season.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The end (of the season!) is nigh...

Well, it just shows how much I know with Wigan beating Albion and then losing versus Swansea! I had forecasted that they would draw with Albion and win against Swansea.

The outcome now is that Wigan have to win at Arsenal to stand a chance of catching Villa,and that only 3 days after their cup final against Man City. Wigan must now realise that relegation is staring them in the face, and the situation may well affect how much concentration they will put in on cup final day.

Villa must be feeling more confident now after their recent results and also the state of Wigan and other teams (Norwich are very capable of going down even if Wigan recover), so this week's match against Chelsea could be a classic. I don't quite fancy Villa to win, but just as Chelsea will probably score a couple of goals, I see Villa scoring the same number. A point will make Villa that extra bit safe before their final game visit to Wigan.

It has been an extraordinary season, with most of us expecting the worst in January after a series of poor results. But from the beginning of February the Villa have quietly pulled themselves together and built up their game.

The only thing I ask for now (assuming no relegation) is that we will see Villa rise up the table in future seasons and become the Midlands' masterclub once again. The Villa have been mainly under-performing for more than a decade, and I sense that Lambert may be putting together a team much in the way that Sir Alex did when he first went to Man U. I hope that as the great man retires that Villa's manager will attain the same greatness.