With the transfer window closed and only two new recruits, both on loan, have the Villans got to worry about relegation?
It was a shame to see nothing happen on transfer deadline day as players who could have shone in claret and blue went elsewhere. Holtby joined Fulham on loan. If Lambert had bid for him, surely he would have come to us instead. Wilfried Zaha went to Cardiff when he is the sort of pacey young player Lambert looks for and would have been a great addition to our squad. With the window closed, ifs and buts mean nothing; the real focus now is on survival and this year I think Villa fans can rest easy.
Last year, we were conceding a lot of goals and had a really damaging goal difference. Luckily, this year our defence is a lot more solid and we are conceding fewer goals. I also think that we have a much stronger team this year as players seem to have the right mentality and can show resilience even when trailing. This was evident against Manchester City at home and mid-week against West Brom. It is pleasing to see and although we have seen some poor football this season we have never seemed likely to get a thrashing – something that was a regular occurrence in the past.
We have also scored more goals this season with twenty-seven goals in twenty-four games compared to last year’s twenty in the same period. We are also much higher up the table this year in tenth and five points clear of the bottom three, compared to last year when we were nineteenth and three points off sixteenth.
A big bonus over our last few games has been the resurrection of Benteke; he has been brilliant in the last four games I have seen, working hard for the team and back to scoring ways. If he can keep this up for the rest of the season and if we keep scoring goals, I can see us winning a lot more games. Another fantastic positive is the way Delph is playing. He has been brilliant and is showing that he is a player we need to keep hold of in the summer.
Last year we were one of the worst teams in the Premier League and, although at times this season we have looked poor, I do believe we are a mid-table team and on our day we can easily beat the teams below us. The likes of Fulham, Cardiff, Sunderland and Norwich and Crystal Palace all look poor and are teams we could beat any day.
There is still a worry that our home form has been poor this season and if our away form starts to suffer then we could find ourselves in some trouble. Looking ahead to next season, improving our home form needs to be a major focus for Paul Lambert if he wants to sell season tickets and attract big crowds to most games.
With our next two games seeing us face West Ham at home and then travelling to Cardiff away, we should be looking for the full six points as they are both teams our squad can beat.
Things are not perfect at the moment but after comparing this season to last it is clear we have improved, even if it is difficult to see how at times. We should be confident at the moment after the exciting derby match mid-week and an unlucky loss to Everton yesterday.
I am fairly certain the Villans will avoid a relegation battle and that they can come back even stronger next year. Up the Villa!