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Simon
January 2nd, 2014, 10:16 AM
We're just over halfway through the season and the transfer window is open, so how is your side doing?

How are you doing compared to expectations at the start of the season?

Have your hopes for the end of the season changed?

What has pleased you about the season so far?

What has disappointed you?

What do you need before the close of the transfer window?

Here is the pre-season thread (https://forums.rajah.com/showthread.php?147108-Expectations-2013-14) for anyone who wants to have a look back and a giggle at people's hopeless optimism - my worst case scenario pretty much came entirely true:


Worst case scenario...we lose Bale, don't spend the fee right and end up at the back of the queue, fighting with Liverpool and a couple of overachieving second-tier sides for Europa League spots.

Mik
January 2nd, 2014, 10:33 AM
Must do better.

son_of_foley
January 2nd, 2014, 10:34 AM
SCHTEVE gets an A for his MODERN LANGUAGES

Simon
January 2nd, 2014, 10:36 AM
How are you doing compared to expectations at the start of the season?
Downgraded a level. At the start of the season I thought the various upheavals at last year's top four could leave us closer than ever to the title (though still unlikely to win it, as I said Chelsea and City would still be too strong), while I would have made us marginal favourites for a CL spot ahead of Arsenal, Liverpool and United. Technically I suppose we are closer than ever to the title, but not in any meaningful sense, and are now probably marginal outsiders for a CL spot behind Arsenal and Liverpool, and slightly ahead of Everton and United as things stand. That is stats-wise. Performance-wise, so far below expectations it's kind of embarrassing. The fear that we might genuinely have been a one-man team last season was borne out - similarly crap performances without a genius to bail (BALE HAHAHAHA) us out, incredibly tedious football, no cutting edge and it's a minor miracle that we weren't further away from the main contenders by the time AVB was sacked. Sherwood has started superbly but there's rightly still an element of suspicion about his lack of credibility as a top-level that will only subside if our recent performances continue to the end of the season.

Have your hopes for the end of the season changed?
Weirdly, not really. Ultimately I expected that at best we would be challenging for a CL spot, and that is still where we are. God knows how. Having said that, while the same target is reachable, it's become more difficult - United have been as bad post-Fergie as I'd expected, but Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton have all been better than expected. I'm still waiting for the Arsenal collapse but annoyingly it hasn't happened yet, so it may be that we're fighting for one remaining spot with Liverpool, Everton and United come the end of the season, in which case I'd make us outsiders now. Very frustrating.

What has pleased you about the season so far?
The sudden improvement since Sherwood arrived, and Kyle Walker's re-emergence as a player of quality and heart - the only player who consistently played well during our shit spells and seemed intent on really making a difference. That's more or less it. Adebayor's recent form is exciting but almost certainly won't last, Danny Rose has been excellent when available but has been injured a lot, and Sandro has come back from injury as good as ever...but they are all minor pluses.

What has disappointed you?
Where to start. None of the summer signings have truly convinced - from the decent starts (Eriksen, Capoue), to the mediocre (Soldado), to the bad (Chiriches, who in fairness is improving and was alright yesterday, though nowhere near as good as the media claimed), to the downright irrelevant (Chadli, Lamela) - the football we played under AVB was appalling, our 26m man can't score, our superstar goalkeeper makes as many cock-ups as he does superb interventions, Townsend scored one goal for England that glossed over more or less nothing of note for us...rubbish really. Everything has disappointed me, except for the performances in the last two games.

What do you need before the close of the transfer window?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing in or out. Shut the gates and get them on the training ground until they fucking recognise each other at least by face if not name. MAYBE a goalkeeper who is quick off his line because Lovely Brad just doesn't suit or system and I'm fairly sure Gomes doesn't actually play for us any more, but that's it. We just need these players to get used to each other.

Simon
January 2nd, 2014, 10:37 AM
Must do better.

Can't do better?

Mik
January 2nd, 2014, 10:56 AM
Should do better.

The Rosk
January 2nd, 2014, 11:04 AM
How the fuck does a goalkeeper not suit your system.

Simon
January 2nd, 2014, 11:06 AM
:wtf: You play a high line with one very very very very very slow defender so you need a goalkeeper who is quick off his line. Come on The Rosk this is basic.

MMH
January 2nd, 2014, 11:35 AM
How are you doing compared to expectations at the start of the season?

Pretty much where I thought we could and should be. But doing it in a much better way than i would have imagined.

Have your hopes for the end of the season changed?

Nope. I said in the thread at the start of the season we can be in the top 4. I still see no reason why we cant.

What has pleased you about the season so far?

Just the way we are playing. We never feel beaten reagrdless. Lots of comebacks, last minute goals and a solid defence. Im likimg how Martinez is using the payers too, Stones getting a game here and there, Osman being used as an impact sub etc.

What has disappointed you?

Nothing at all. The Sunderland game was a blow but it was one of those games.

What do you need before the close of the transfer window?

Not a great deal. Maybe some cover for Lukaku as Kone is out for the season and Jelavic is either on his way or just shit. Probably need cover in midfield for Gibson too as he is out long term.

Bad Collin
January 2nd, 2014, 11:47 AM
How are you doing compared to expectations at the start of the season?


If things go well...

If we keep Suarez and avoid injuries we could fluke a CL spot.

This is happening at the moment, Suarez is on fire and we are playing some very nice football. We could be derailed by a Suarez injury or (more likely) long suspension but we are in with a shout of champions league football. It's all very exciting.

Have your hopes for the end of the season changed?

Yes, we need to at least be in the fight for a CL place after the start we have had.

What has pleased you about the season so far?

Henderson. He has become the player I thought he could and it looks like him and Coutinho will be the focus of our midfield for a long time.

What has disappointed you?

Nothing much. I was annoyed that we went out of the league cup to a weak United team but that probably helped in the end. Losing both big away matches over Christmas was disapointing, I felt we deserved a point from at least one of them.

What do you need before the close of the transfer window?

I think we badly need competition for Lucas as we have no one who is as effective at breaking up opposition attacks. We also need another quality player for the wide attacking roles, Sterling/Moses/Aspas are ok but not amazing, if we can improve on them it will help the push for fourth.

Maybe a new right back; Johnston gets a lot of the ball but doesn't do enough with it. I can't think of anyone who would be better at the moment though.

son_of_foley
January 2nd, 2014, 11:53 AM
Im really glad that I was right about Jelavic after all. I was terrified there for a bit. Lazy tosser.

The Rosk
January 2nd, 2014, 12:02 PM
:wtf: You play a high line with one very very very very very slow defender so you need a goalkeeper who is quick off his line. Come on The Rosk this is basic.

Yet your "superstar goalkeeper" makes (according to you) loads of fuck ups as a result of this style of play?

Erm... who else are you going to get in that will do a good job if a superstar goalkeeper makes such fuck ups?

MMH
January 2nd, 2014, 12:20 PM
Im really glad that I was right about Jelavic after all. I was terrified there for a bit. Lazy tosser.

Hes not lazy at all. Hes just not very good.

son_of_foley
January 2nd, 2014, 12:26 PM
He's a lazy shit tosser.

son_of_foley
January 2nd, 2014, 12:26 PM
You bloody racist

Romford Pele
January 2nd, 2014, 12:38 PM
How are you doing compared to expectations at the start of the season?

Brilliantly. Before the end of August, there was a lot of doubt whether we would even get top 4. The Villa home game showed the frustration of the fans in that a lot of dead wood had gone with no quality brought in.

Flamini and Ozil were inspired signings (though Flamini had to 'convince' Wenger which is weird) and our form since then has been inspired. Ramsey has been fantastic, Giroud has done well considering he hasnt been rested and the back 4 and keeper look much more solid. We are definitely surpassing my expectations.

Have your hopes for the end of the season changed?

Yes, how could they not?

Originally I was hoping for top 4 and any trophy. Now that we are top, though we arent favourites depending what we do in the transfer market, we have a great opportunity to win the title.

What has pleased you about the season so far?

The consistency, we are breaking down teams when we were not doing that before. We have also bounced back from defeats well. As said, the defence is looking meaner and we seem much more resillient.


What has disappointed you?

If I'm being very pikcy, going out of the league cup - we need to win a trophy, any trophy and I feel Wenger has already underestimated that. Also, losing to a poor Man U side as we didnt turn up was annoying.

What do you need before the close of the transfer window?

A striker and squad defender.

Chris Scott
January 2nd, 2014, 4:15 PM
How are you doing compared to expectations at the start of the season?

Better than I thought if I'm honest, never expected us to be top 4 most of the season, top at Xmas and still only 3 points off top with our home form looking excellent.

Have your hopes for the end of the season changed?

Yes defiantly, would love champions league footy at Anfield again

What has pleased you about the season so far?

Suarez General play and goals and mostly Jordan Henderson, the lad is brilliant. Also more attacking from Rodgers away from home and our home record especially against the so called lesser teams is looking good. Our 5-0 at WHL, one of our best away performances I've ever watched.

What has disappointed you?

I know injuries haven't helped but Rodgers changing the back 4 far to often, needs to find the settled players and stick with it.

What do you need before the close of the transfer window?

Another back up striker maybe and defensive midfielder.

Little stat for you, in 2013 we scored the most goals netting 84 goals in 37 games.

Gary J
January 3rd, 2014, 10:19 AM
How are you doing compared to expectations at the start of the season?

I would have been happy to just stay up and thought we would just manage to survive i'm a bit surprised how easy we've found it.

Have your hopes for the end of the season changed?

Yeah i'm now hoping for tenth I think it's more likely we'll be about 12th or 13th but i'd like to think tenth is achievable.

What has pleased you about the season so far?

Everything really nothing has gone wrong for us so far.

What has disappointed you?

That we didn't get Shane Long on deadline day.

What do you need before the close of the transfer window?

A striker is the main priority - Steven Fletcher is the rumour going round but I can't see Sunderland selling him to us.

Prototype16
January 4th, 2014, 3:23 PM
How are you doing compared to expectations at the start of the season?

Pretty much as expected - we're not doing too bad

Have your hopes for the end of the season changed?

Nope - stay up and have a cup run. That will do

What has pleased you about the season so far?

Beating Chelsea. Some improved performance away from home, despite not quite getting the results. Begovic's brilliance. Cameron's development.

What has disappointed you?

Rarely putting two good halves together at home. Arnautovic not really delivering.

What do you need before the close of the transfer window?

A striker with pace is the priority, and a better defensive midfielder if we can find one

El Capitano Gatisto
January 5th, 2014, 8:37 AM
Im really glad that I was right about Jelavic after all. I was terrified there for a bit. Lazy tosser.

Same. I maintained he was rubbish when Everton signed him and for a few weeks there was a chance I was just being stubborn as usual but no.

Simon
January 6th, 2014, 10:33 AM
How are you doing compared to expectations at the start of the season?

Pretty much as expected - we're not doing too bad

Have your hopes for the end of the season changed?

Nope - stay up and have a cup run. That will do

What has pleased you about the season so far?

Beating Chelsea. Some improved performance away from home, despite not quite getting the results. Begovic's brilliance. Cameron's development.

What has disappointed you?

Rarely putting two good halves together at home. Arnautovic not really delivering.

What do you need before the close of the transfer window?

A striker with pace is the priority, and a better defensive midfielder if we can find one

I've been quite impressed with how quickly Hughes has managed to move away from the Pulis style. Not that you play amazing football now, or that he's doing a magnificent job results-wise...but I really thought that Pulis' group of players would struggle to adapt to a passing game at all. He seems to be getting the best out of players like Ireland and Assaidi too. Get rid of that disfigured cunt Charlie Adam and I might not let out an audible sigh any time I see Stoke are in one of the televised games.

Rip
January 6th, 2014, 10:52 AM
How are you doing compared to expectations at the start of the season?

Going ok to be fair, crap in both cups but hand on heart we always are.

Have your hopes for the end of the season changed?

I would have loved a run in a cup, but Europe is still possible.

What has pleased you about the season so far?

Team spirit, we seem to have found one, Anita has really started to look the part.

What has disappointed you?

Cisse, some of our idiot fans who seem to thing we're a top four club, Colo and Cabaye still taking the piss, Dummett not really pushing on.

What do you need before the close of the transfer window?

Striker, hopefully Remy signed, a solid centre half, not to lose anyone.

The Rosk
January 6th, 2014, 11:17 AM
My “worst case scenario” was as follows: Fight off relegation again only with a less interested Benteke. Don't think this will happen but our defence at times last season was absolutely shocking and you may as well be given a penalty whenever you got a corner against us.

So that’s basically where we are.

How are you doing compared to expectations at the start of the season?

Nowhere near as well. Benteke has had a big injury and hasn’t got back to the form of last year yet, which basically single-handedly kept us up. Weimann is being played all round the Wrekin and is yet to settle when I really hoped he would kick on. Our defence is fucking awful – Ciaran Clark looked inept against Sheffield United which is more his level. And a number of the summer signings Lambert made have either not been given enough time in a solid position (Kozak, Bacuna, Helenius) or aren’t really good enough for this level yet (Luna) to go with the likes of Bowery and Bennett who were not worthy of the Premier League in the first place.

Have your hopes for the end of the season changed?

I honestly just hope we stay up now. People may be a little shocked by that given we are currently in 11th place, but we are merely six points from the relegation zone, nine points from bottom, and of the six games we have won this season, we have honestly absolutely fluked half of them (Man City we had no right to win, Southampton we won with three shots on target to their 25 and arguably the Arsenal victory was tainted). For the last six games we have averaged 27% possession both home and away, and Villa Park looks like the kind of fortress people pay to go to in order to have a shag with a prossie because it’s so easy. We’ve got Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton in the next four games and I can’t see us getting a point from any of them.

What has pleased you about the season so far?

Delph has got better and is more like the player we thought we bought years ago. Albrighton has come back after a loan at Wigan and is looking a bit more like the player he was two years ago. That is literally it.

What has disappointed you?

Going out of both cups in the first game of asking at Villa Park isn’t that great. The constant changing of formations and lack of any kind of creative attacking is really horrible and lumping it forward at all costs seems to be Lambert’s only method at the moment. What is mostly disappointing is that this will no doubt go down as the eighth “transitional” season on the trot. It simply isn’t good enough and the booing after each home loss is fully deserved. We are a popular historic club which needs strong management from not just Lambert but also above – our CEO is a complete cunt who has no idea what he is doing.

What do you need before the close of the transfer window?

Ideally we would bring in a genuinely experienced creative midfielder. A main issue around the Villa team is that we have some good young players (Westwood, Lowton, Weimann yadayadayada) but there is no real leader or Plan B when on the pitch, which basically fucks us when we are playing at home and can’t rely on counter-attacking football, which is what Lambert is known for. There are vague rumours of Steven Defour that would make me obvisouly extremely happy but I can’t see him coming to us. We also need Okore to come back from his injury if possible because he was a sound signing for the defence. Unfortunately Ciaran Clark is the worst footballer alive so has to step in and Baker, whilst good at some things, is a bombscare at times.

Meh. Get some money on us to go down. The only thing stopping us will be shithouse teams being even worse.

Ringo
January 6th, 2014, 1:16 PM
How are you doing compared to expectations at the start of the season?

Hard to say. I was feeling fairly negative about things up until a few weeks ago. We weren't playing well, a bunch of other teams were, we were leaking goals, struggling to kill games off, dropping points when the opposition didn't completely cave. However the annual November/December "bad moment" didn't end up being quite as bad as feared. We also tend to get better towards the end of the season and right now we're two points off the top and have pretty good draws in the FA Cup and CL. And while we still have to visit Anfield and the Etihad in the league, Arsenal, United, Spurs, Everton and Newcastle all have to come to the Bridge.

Champions League qualification and the same manager would do me tbh.

Have your hopes for the end of the season changed?

Possibly. We seem to be growing in confidence so winning the title is a possibility. I still think City will win it without too many problems though so I'm not getting my hopes up yet.

What has pleased you about the season so far?

The form of Hazard & Oscar - both quickly becoming Mourinho "untouchables", John Terry's performances... Willian. I love him. Also very pleased to beat City and Liverpool in the league and Arsenal in the Capital One Cup.

What has disappointed you?
Lukaku going out on loan again, De Bruyne barely featuring, David Luiz reverting to type, and Mata being relegated to the fringes. That said, having watched the way Oscar, Willian and Hazard have been working for the team lately it may be justified after all.

Eto'o's finishing as well. He's missed some sitters.

What do you need before the close of the transfer window?

We "need" a top striker and CM. Our options up front aren't entirely useless like some make out but we lack that world class striker that City, Liverpool and United have. Not sure we're going to get that in January though. The best strikers I can think of who might be available now are... Mario Balotelli and Jackson Martinez?

At CM, it's both quantity and quality we lack. van Ginkel's injury was really unfortunate. That left us with just four options. Essien is probably finished at this level. Lampard is 35 (although I'd say he's adapted to a more defensive role fairly well considering). Mikel has some real strengths but only fits a certain type of game. Ramires is the best we've got but he's got his flaws and probably fits a three man midfield best. Fredy Guarin looks likely this window but I get the impression there would be better options in the Summer.

Gary J
January 6th, 2014, 5:09 PM
Rosk have more faith in Villa you have the number of points as us and i'm confident we'll be safe. I'm confident Villa will be safe Sunderland , Norwich and Fulham are more then likely to be the three to go down.

The Rosk
January 6th, 2014, 5:30 PM
Gary you have got a good few points recently. We have scored one goal at home in four games and are toothless with no confidence. Unless we buy we are fucked.

RFF Champ
January 6th, 2014, 5:58 PM
The long ball shite Villa are serving up at the moment is disgusting, big big trouble if something doesn't give soon. Can't see Lerner putting the cash up though.

Andy
January 6th, 2014, 6:05 PM
Rosk do you think Villa will regret not selling Benteke for ~20m? He barely looks worth what you paid for him at the moment.

The Rosk
January 6th, 2014, 6:19 PM
Nah he is class. Just had a shit injury and low on confidence. He will get back to the form we saw last year soon. Just needs a goal.

Prototype16
January 6th, 2014, 7:15 PM
I've been quite impressed with how quickly Hughes has managed to move away from the Pulis style. Not that you play amazing football now, or that he's doing a magnificent job results-wise...but I really thought that Pulis' group of players would struggle to adapt to a passing game at all. He seems to be getting the best out of players like Ireland and Assaidi too. Get rid of that disfigured cunt Charlie Adam and I might not let out an audible sigh any time I see Stoke are in one of the televised games.

The likes of Shawcross and Cameron have certainly proved themselves to be better footballers than a lot of people thought, although I don't think Huth will ever look comfortable on the ball. If anything I think Hughes tried to change things too quickly at first - we were passing the ball a lot but doing nothing with it, whilst looking poor defensively - but we're mixing it up more now and we've actually been better since Crouch and Whelan came back into the starting line up, even though I don't think either are the answer long term.

Assaidi's been great in the last few weeks - can't cross a ball but he's quick, direct and a goal threat, he looks a far better bet than Arnautovic at the moment. Ireland's been decent but sometimes you need Adam on there just because he gets on with things a bit more, it's a close call between the two of them

Gary J
January 6th, 2014, 8:16 PM
Gary you have got a good few points recently. We have scored one goal at home in four games and are toothless with no confidence. Unless we buy we are fucked.

I do think that confidence will come back it might take getting rid of Lambert to do so as I don't think his man management is the best and I can't imagine him helping any player low on confidence at the moment. I am a bit surprised by how shit Ciaran Clark has become I thought he looked pretty decent when Houllier first brought him into the team. I still think and hope Villa stay up though and like I say I think Norwich , Sunderland and Fulham will be the three to go.