A lucky draw?

In First Team Players, Official

It’s official: the fixture list for the upcoming Premier League season has been published. With the reactions to it ranging from uncertainty to absolute devastation, two lessons were learned from yesterday’s draw:

1. Rumours are what they are: rumours! Even if supported by photographic “evidence”, the prediction that we would meet Manchester United at home in our opening match proved to be a non-starter. Let’s just hope we can say the same about the ongoing Vlaar rumours come September.

2. The habit of saying “it can’t get any worse” is as far removed from reality as some of the rumours doing the rounds  and should be used with extreme care, especially knowing our luck when it comes to draws like this one. It almost seems like we were challenging Fortuna to come up with the most extreme scenarios. It looks like we lost out once more as she’s offered us a scary September – when a frightening run of five games begins.

In the opening match we will face Stoke City – away. Well, at least the Potters will make sure that our players know that the season has begun. The boys in claret and blue had better start to play some good football as the Potters are very uncomfortable opponents, even though their approach has thankfully become less physical during recent times. Our players don’t need to watch their legs that closely but rather focus on the football itself, which has to be good, and it will be Paul Lambert’s job to ensure that.

The next two matches, both at home, against Newcastle and Hull respectively, have gained importance and become absolute must-wins due to the games that follow them.

It’s matches four to eight that will offer most challenge: within the next five games we will meet all of last season’s top five teams in the league. If we have more points on the board after these five matches than after the first three that will either mean that we had an absolutely shocking start or that the players and staff can walk around with their heads held high. I think you can all imagine how much I hope the latter will be the case.

From then until the new year, we will play what seem to be the “easier” fixtures and, as always, we need to pick up points wherever we can.

The busy time around Christmas looks like a real present compared to our opening matches: facing Swansea, Sunderland and Crystal Palace could lead to a truly festive period if the team lives up to its potential.

When, for the second time, we are facing Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea in three consecutive matches in late January and early February, our players will already have experienced what may look like an absolute horror show to other clubs.

The rest of the season looks balanced fixture-wise but, as is always the case, the final matches could be key. Let’s hope our Premier League status is already safe at that time but, in case we are still in a fight for survival, an away game at Southampton and the final game – at home against promoted Burnley – should give us a chance if we need one. Needless to say, a club can never have too many points and whatever situation we face we should go for what is on offer in every single game: three points!

However, with none of the above matches played and pre-season yet to start we can conclude that the only thing it is safe to say about the fixture list is that we will face each of our nineteen opponents twice next season, once home and once away, and, while optimism might look odd in the bigger Villa picture at the moment, pessimism would be counterproductive. So let’s be positive about the things to come in the new season. Bring on pre-season!

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7 commentsOn A lucky draw?

  • Can’t help but notice the despair, even before a ball is kicked. It’s heartbreaking to see this club we love in this way.

  • Agree with John, I am the most positive person around but cant see ant reason to do anything but dread next season, please god Senderos is not Ron Vlaar replacement. Why cant we get Lescott ?, wages I think. We are obviously operating in an a market where we can only get players no one in any division wants.

    These people have almost asset stripped the club on the playing side selling players and replacing with First Division replacements for next to nothing, Lambert has taken money to help with this process, knowing full well how wrong it is, I understand why so many managers turned the job down, they had pride and ambition.

    I wish them and their families the worst of everything for such a betrayal ! Lerner, Faulkner and Lambert a role call of shame !

    S

  • villopian tube

    I can’t see us losing a single game.

  • Steve09, can you clarify “Lambert has taken money to help with this process, knowing full well how wrong it is” as I’m not sure what you’re getting at?

  • Hi Dave,

    My point is that Lambert is enjoying a huge salary on the basis of knowingly heading the ‘strip down’ of the club, this was made clear at the initial interview apparently and he has taken the shilling and sold the rest of us down the river. A few interested managers turned down the chance to manage Villa due to these terms of reference. Lambert must have known how impossible the task was given these restrictions.

    In fairness, Lerner was clear about these rules early on. Lambert accepted on these terms and took the money and in the process has completely destroyed his reputation.

    S

  • COLIN GALE (@cgale_825)

    Yes it’s all about money & very little about the footie to some folk ! Claims of asset stripping are just an excuse for belly aching instead of looking @ the footie. Big deal we finished 6th several under O’Nearly but that is as far we ever were going to get & coz he could not get more dosh for more of the same he walked, leaving the club on the slippery slope to bankrupcy. Sure, Lernmer should have done something sooner but how many did not think that with a little more effort we could get some more silverware? Asset stripping? More like the best players walked coz they could see their chances of winning trophies slipping away with cup failure after cup failure.

    As for the players that have come in, it does not matter what league they come from ,as top players have to start somewhere & not all get grabbed @ a young age by the top clubs. What matters is that they can play & by beating most of the top teams last season they have proved that. But what they do need to do is learn how not to be bullied out of games by teams who rely more on brawn than skill, but by adding some experience to the squad they can learn to do that.

  • Prediction. Aston Villa will garner more points in September than in August. Why? What is it about the Villa that big teams are always scared to face them? We all know why Aston Villa has the capability to scare Chelsea, Arsenal and the like. The reason is because Aston Villa, unless they are desperately trying to defend, come forward lightning quick. They are the fastest attackers in the Premier League, although of course not the most creative, and draw mistakes and flaws out of the opposition defense. Talk about the Chelsea goal, and what comes to mind is the speed and sharpness of Delph. From the halfway line to the goal, hardly 15 seconds. The last goal against Manchester City, pace from Weimann to outpace renowned Belgium defender Kompany and his partner Zabaleta. Attacking pace is our key. That is why we must keep Agbonlahor, Weimann and Delph.
    But the weaker teams are able to keep a tab on us because they too have such counter attackers. Big teams rely on creativity. Aston Villa is unlocked only by quick lightning attack and precise play. Most of the goals against us have come from organised play,probably pre decided by the opposition manager. Certainly not free open play, as it seems sometimes. The big teams are free to create, that doesn’t bother Villa, but the weak teams do exactly what their manager says: That bothers Villa.
    Keep note of this.It will happen.We won’t get relegated.
    Sarvesh
    18
    India.

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