The Week In Villa (5)
Thursday, 30th August
In the major drama of the day, The Week In Villa comes out a day late, hence why we start on Thursday this week.
Onto news outside of my own little bubble, Stephen Ireland says he wants a new contract. Well he isn`t going to get paid as well elsewhere. I completely and utterly fail to see what he`s done to deserve it though.
Genk are 'playing hardball` on Benteke. I still think this will happen but it`s not looking as likely as it was.
We`re drawn away to Man City in the League Cup. Sigh.
Friday, 31st August
It`s transfer deadline day! You will already know what happened but I`ll keep it in 'real time`, including some of the daft Twitter stuff.
We agree a fee for Clint Dempsey.
We sign Jordan Bowery.
Clint Dempsey turns us down, he wants to go to Liverpool. Sod him then.
Wilfried Bony is linked. His agent says he is 'playing with bad players` and needs to move. Ouch!
The ball for the Dale Stephens deal is apparently in Charlton`s court.
Mauro Zarate may or may not be in Birmingham.
We`re randomly linked with Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. Great name.
The Benteke deal appears on. A figure of £10.6m is quoted.
Ashley Westwood is rumoured to be having a medical.
Which apparently means Charlton kept that ball from earlier in their court.
Benteke is deffo in Brum.
Michael Dawson may or may not be on his way.
Some weird rumours come out about Darren Bent leaving.
Some other weird rumours come out about Jordan Henderson arriving.
We announce we`re about to, um, make an announcement.
Villa fans on social networks welcome Benteke to Villa.
The club then mug them all off and announce Ashley Westwood has signed.
Now Benteke has signed.
40 minutes left, I would suggest that is it, despite some of the rumours.
Looks like the Benteke fee was more like £7m.
Delfouneso is off to Blackpool on a season-long loan.
Hutton and Warnock are sadly still here.
And that is that.
Overall, it`s a difficult window to analyse. We addressed the immediate requirements. Benteke is an unknown quantity but appears to be the type of player we need up top to give us extra options. The lower league players are also unknown quantities, but if Matty Lowton is anything to go by, they`ll be just fine. Of course, that is not a guarantee, but Lambert has a proven track record in that area.
I am still concerned about the midfield and the lack of wide men concerns me, however Lambert very much does not want to play with wingers, so it is what it is. It would just be nice to have that option, but I suppose when Albrighton returns, we will.
One of the biggest problems is that Lambert may not fancy Ireland, N`Zogbia or Holman, but he has no choice so signing players to play in their position may not be an option. Again, it is what it is and now we get on with it.
In many ways it is a relief!
Saturday, 1st September
Saturday`s without the Villa suck.
Sunday, 2nd September
Well that was a pleasant surprise! A good result and yet bizarrely, I was disappointed in the end - which shows it was a good performance!
I can`t say there were not frustrating moments mixed in with the pleasing stuff; Darren Bent contributed a lot more BUT should have buried that chance late on; Ireland certainly looked better BUT again, lack of end product was summed up with that missed chance at the end; the goal they scored was a cracker BUT Holman was nowhere near tight enough; and so on.
However, it was a massive improvement, and there are plenty of positive signs to be taken from it. For me, the season starts properly against Swansea, as Lambert will have had more time with the players, the newbies get a bit of time to settle (although I think Benteke is off with Belgium?) and even Gabby will be a bit fitter. His run to set up Bent towards the end summed up what we have been missing, a bit of that directness.
Lambert certainly made the right call in selecting Guzan, which I have been preaching since McLeish signed Given on that ridiculous contract. I`d also be disappointed to see Lichaj dropped, as for me he definitely did enough to warrant keeping his place. To be fair everyone deserves to start again, surely?
Something that was annoying was that KAE got booked for having a Newcastle player jump at him! Twitter seemed to have a few comments that Newcastle fans were moaning we kicked them off the park… I presume they were about 15, because I don`t think I have seen a team getting kicked around since about 1998; and even then it was wussy compared to days gone by. Who exactly does the kicking in football now? Is someone like Joey Barton supposed to be a hard man? Of course he is princess.
In other news, Villa ladies (who were probably involved in tougher tackling) beat Derby 4-0 in the League Cup. Katie Wilkinson grabbed a hat-trick and Carly Davies got the other. Well done ladies.
Monday, 3rd September
The U-21`s draw 3-3 with Southampton. Sounds like a cracker, although the disappointing aspect is we were 3-0 up. Devine, Johnson and O`Brien got the goals.
We issue a statement apologising for offending the Irish FA in relation to Richard Dunne`s injury. Fair enough, let`s move on shall we?
Tuesday, 4th September
Sky move our live game against Norwich on Sunday, 28th October to Saturday, 27th October.
Our league cup tie - practically a gimme - against Man City has been confirmed for Tuesday, 25th September. I don`t like us playing on a Tuesday. Don`t know why, I just associate us with Wednesday nights. Weird, I know.
Finally, Stan`s former club Celtic donate £5,000 to Pedal For Petrov. Well done to them, a very nice gesture indeed.