Pundit Predictions for Aston Villa’s Season Ahead
Predictions for where teams would finish up in the 2013/14 season even started before the 2012/13 version had wrapped up. MOTD3, desperate to kill airtime, decided to canvass pundits Alan Shearer and Pat Nevin for their projections a season ahead.
The unspectacular pundit that is Shearer predicted Villa would finish 15th, saying, “Let’s not get too excited”, when Pat Nevin, sitting next to him in the BBC studio, questioned him for being a little harsh on the Villa. Nevin himself could only see improvement for Lambert’s chargers and tipped them for an 11th place finish.
Villa manager Paul Lambert also had the upcoming season well in mind, while the last one played out. It seems Villa’s relegation battle was almost an inconvenience for his forward-planning. Offered funds in the last January transfer window, Lambert abstained from any serious spending. Villa were in desperate need for a centre-back, yet it seems the Villa manager probably had his eye on Jores Okore then, and was prepared to wait until the Dane was available.
Even before the summer transfer window opened, Lambert had six new signings in the bag, giving him plenty of time to bed them down before the new season kicked off. What their impact on the Villa first-team will be remains to be seen, but there is no doubt now that Villa have a much healthier-looking squad now. With the Benteke saga done and dusted early doors, another major plus for Villa is not having the distraction of their star player having his head turned, as Liverpool and Spurs currently do. The team is very much settled and in good spirits.
When last season began, you always felt that Lambert could have benefited from three or four more pre-season games. The team’s poor start to the season certainly mirrored that. Now though, they seem ready to get cracking with the challenge ahead. Villa finished last season strongly and despite the tough trio of fixtures they start with (Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea), if they can impress in them, they should be able to carry on the forward momentum from last season.
Other media have tended to side with caution when predicting Villa’s fate in the season ahead, with most predicting Villa to finish anywhere from relegation to 10th. Daily Mirror Chief Sports Writer Oliver Holt and the Midland’s correspondent James Nursey have been slightly more optimistic and have both tipped Villa to win the Capital One Cup. What? You mean we’re going to get a better opportunity to lift that cup than last season?!
The big news in terms of Villa predictions though is that Robbie Savage doesn’t list Villa in his three favourites for the drop this time round. Instead, the ‘honour’ goes to Norwich, Hull and Crystal Palace. Good luck to them in beating the curse as Villa did. UTV
MOMS Villa Prediction for BT Sports
“Despite a flirtation with Wembley that ended with a lower league semi-final slap in the face, considering Paul Lambert’s rapid overhaul of the squad, last season was all about avoiding the drop. Villa’s team had an average age of 23 and none of the six players signed this transfer window are older than that. The key to optimism for the new season was retaining Christian Benteke’s services after Villa fans jokingly put the striker up for sale on ebay as a ‘put up or shut up’ gesture to Spurs.
If the pick of the latest signings, Danish international centre-back Jores Okore, becomes a defensive Benteke-like find to solve Villa’s rearguard troubles, then the exuberance of youth could lead Villa to a top-half finish.”
Feel free to add your predictions in the comments section below for everyone to see. UTV
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