It’s funny how opinions vary from fan to fan.
I personally am, and have always been, an optimistic Villa fan. I like to look at the positives and do not dwell on the negatives for too long. That’s not to say I don’t acknowledge the negatives when they happen but, even during Villa’s darkest days in the last couple of seasons, I always reminded myself and others that ‘it can only get better from here’.
So imagine my surprise when I spoke to a Villa fan who had a completely different outlook to my own. Asking him about the upcoming season, it was clear to see that he didn’t have the same sense of optimism I had, rather a pessimistic view.
I really believe we will do well this season. Okay, I accept the fact that the club is currently a work in progress under the ‘Lambert Project’ and I think the best we can hope to achieve is a (maybe!) a top half finish. Failing that, I’d even accept a mid-table finish, just not as low as last year. A good cup run wouldn’t go amiss either.
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]”I accept the fact that the club is currently a work of progress under the ‘Lambert Project’.[/quote]
I also expect us to play a good, vibrant, exciting brand of football this season. Lambert has signed the players he wants to achieve that. You can clearly see in our pre-season games how well we have kept the ball, movement off the ball is great and creating chances hasn’t been a problem.
I think Lambert has adopted a ‘We’ll just score more goals than you’ approach. That’s not to say we’ll be poor defensively but in this team, I really do think attack is the best form of defence.
Realistically, we’ll have some good performances and score a good amount of goals – but I have no doubt we’ll also lose a few games that we were probably not expected to. However, I don’t feel it’ll be a case of us falling short in terms of tactics, players or being unprepared, I think other teams in the Premier League have generally gotten better. Against the big boys, we will lose. We may cause a shock result here and there but, as Villa fans, we know that we can’t compete with them…yet. We accept that. All we want is the 11 players on the pitch to work their socks off for the club and we’ll be happy.
But what does the pessimistic fan think?
In brief, he thinks we will struggle. He thinks other teams have strengthened to the point where we can’t catch them.
He also feels that we’ll be relegation candidates all season, and that we could be bottom by September, because of all the hard fixtures we have to contend with. Because of this, he thinks the younger players’ morale will have taken a hit, which will cause mistakes and nervousness in their performances. When the fans will start to get restless, these players will not want to make a mistake but when they do, they’ll want a black hole to swallow them up because of fans getting on their backs.
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]”We could be bottom by September, because of all the hard fixtures we have to contend with”.[/quote]
He then said he anticipates us going on a long ‘losing/winless’ streak in the league because it seems to happen every season, even during the successful O’Neill era.
When I called him a pessimist, he replied: “I’m not a pessimist – I’m a realist.”
I tried to counter his arguments by saying we’ve signed some of Europe’s best upcoming youngsters, who want a platform to showcase their talents. Everyone makes mistakes on the pitch, even veteran pros. It’s how you learn from them which makes a difference.
Also, most of the players in our team have now had at least a year’s experience in the Premier League, bar the new signings. Even so, Okore, Tonev, Luna, Helenius, Bacuna have all had European experience despite their relatively young ages.
What do you reckon, Villans? Is it a time to be optimistic or is it a time to be pessimistic?