Ahead of Saturday's big derby clash at
Villa Park, we spoke with Villa fan Rory from the blog
7500 To Holte. He gives us his views on the Villans'
start to the season, Tim Sherwood, Joleon Lescott, and more. You can follow the
blog on twitter
It's not been
the best of starts results-wise for Villa, how have performances been and how is
the start being viewed by the Villa faithful?
It's been incredibly frustrating. There's been some good moments, winning at
Bournemouth on the first day was a nice result and our first-half performance
against Leicester was some of our best football of the season. But Villa seem
incapable of going a whole 90 minutes without clumsy individual mistakes and
questionable tactical decisions which cost the team points. We're holding
ourselves back - we'd be much higher up the table if we hadn't thrown away
points in our matches against Sunderland and Palace, and especially in last
weekend's disastrous loss to
Leicester. I don't think anyone's panicking yet, but we very well could be if we
don't turn it around quickly.
players have stood out so far and have any players been particularly
A few of the new boys have looked really impressive so far. Idrissa 'Gana' Gueye,
the new central midfielder has been lively and energetic in the middle of the
park, and Adama Traore, purchased from the Barcelona B team, has looked
threatening in his little time on the pitch. Both players have picked up
injuries, and their status for Saturday is in question.
I could name quite a few disappointments, but I'll limit myself to the couple of
players who were brought in to score goals. We weren't expecting a single player
to replace the departed Benteke, but new striker Jordan Ayew has yet to make an
influence on any match, and Rudy Gestede, apart from his goal at
Bournemouth, hasn't done much to
inspire either. Hopefully, they simply have yet to adapt to the Premier League
and will turn their form around soon.
Tim Sherwood seems to
divide opinion amongst supporters around the country. Some see him as a breath
of fresh air with his open and honest views whilst others are not so convinced
by him. What's your view on him and what do the Villa fans in general think of
That's the question, isn't it? Sherwood kept us up and led us to Wembley, and
seemed to do an acceptable job of recruiting new talent after we lost two
crucial players. A month ago, I would've said that everything was fine. But in
the past few games, some of his game management and tactical decisions have
been, quite honestly, shocking. I could go on and on about the specifics, but he
just seems lost when it comes to substitutions. Some blame must lie with the
players, but there is no doubt in my mind that he's cost us points this season.
Is Sherwood the man to
take Villa forward?
Again, it's tough to answer. He brings exciting, attacking football to the club,
which we desperately needed after years of nearly unwatchable football under
Paul Lambert. He saved us from relegation and put us in the FA Cup Final, both
of which are great signs. But Sherwood's inexperience is beginning to tell, and
if we keep dropping points like we have been, he could come under some serious
pressure. Right now, I'd lean towards him turning it around, but I'm not as
confident as I once was.
Villa fans view the arrival of Joleon Lescott from the Baggies?
I think it was a decent bit of business, good for both club and player. We were
crowded at centre-back before the move, but lacked experience. Lescott's arrival
allowed Nathan Baker to go out on loan, and he slotted in alongside Micah
Richards against Leicester. I think we all know what we're going to get with Lescott -
slower and older, perhaps, but an experienced player, a calming influence for
what has been a shaky defensive unit so far.
On a similar note,
were you happy with the club's summer transfer dealings? Was there anything else
you would have liked to see the club do?
I was pretty happy with it, yes. We needed an infusion of fresh faces, and
players like Gana,
Amavi, and Micah Richards have all established themselves in the starting 11. A
few have yet to come good, I mentioned Ayew and Gestede earlier, along with a
few others who haven't gotten much of a chance yet. It's perhaps a bit too soon
to judge the new group of players, but Sherwood did what he had to - taking the
money from the Benteke/Delph deals and reinvesting it in the squad with quality,
if not proven, players.
Prediction for Villa's
At the start of the year, a lot of Villa fans seemed to be in agreement - this
could either be really, really good or disastrously bad. Either this team will
click (like the first-half against
Leicester) and push up near the top half, or it will capitulate
(like the second-half against
Leicester) and we could be in a real fight to avoid relegation, once
Prediction for Albion's season?
I think under Tony Pulis, you know what you're going to get. I think they'll do
enough to stay up and finish somewhere in the 12-16 range. Impressive
defensively, less so attacking. Not exactly an exciting team, but safe enough.
At the beginning of the season I had Arsenal pegged as champions, but after
seeing Man City
breeze through their early fixtures I think they'll be the ones to beat.
Sunderland, Watford, and Norwich.
What line-up and tactics can we expect to see from Villa on Saturday?
A lot will depend on fitness, but I'd expect something similar to how we started
against Leicester, in something of a 4-2-3-1. Tactically, you can expect at least one,
maybe two, substitutions from Sherwood that make absolutely no sense.
Prediction and thoughts on the game?
Regardless of the fact that it's a derby, it's an important match for both
sides. Villa have to put the debacle at Leicester behind them and start picking
up points again, while Albion need to start finding ways to turn draws into
victories. I'll go with a safe, but plausible 1-1 draw, with neither team being
too happy with the result.