Villa fans are either one of the two by nature and circumstance but since the Lambert revolution began kicking deadwood out the Villa Park door, the Optimistic v Pessimistic divide has widened even further. Me personally, I’m a reactive type and never more so have my beliefs swung from positive to negative than this summer.
Transfer business being done fast and efficiently early in a transfer window is an alien concept to us Villa lot. We were caught up in the excitement of our in comings early this summer; all of whom fitted the Lambert criteria of being young, cheap, European and hungry. Unfortunately, for 98.5% of Villa fans, another trait of Lambert’s signings is the fact no one has ever heard of these players outside of their own countries. People naturally fear the unknown and that is what the Villa new comers are unknown.
Lambert however, can boast that he uncovered the majestic raw talent of Christian Benteke last summer and fans should be excited about the new comers to the Villa squad despite their humble profile on the world stage. Benteke himself almost single handedly caused Villa fans worldwide to suffer from severe ‘Pre- Season Pessimism Syndrome’ when he slammed in a Transfer request after weeks of agent flirting with London clubs. Villa and Lambert were resigned to losing their star man after a mere 10 months of service according to media ITKs everywhere; however, Benteke after 10 days completed the biggest U-turn in world football this summer and signed a contract extension at Villa.
Securing Benteke may well be the biggest cause of optimism among the Villa faithful, despite the undoubted damage he did to his cult like status at the club with an ill-timed transfer request. The Belgian is the fulcrum of the Villa attack. What is harder to pinpoint is the fulcrum of the Villa defence. The last time the youthful Villa side managed a shutout was December 8th 2012 against the mighty attacking force of….Stoke City!!!
Pre-season thus far has seen Villa face lower league German opposition and even lower league English opposition. The one thing that is not getting lower is the length of time since Villa kept a clean sheet, as all of these teams have found their way through the Villa defence. The pessimistic are beginning to cry ‘our defence is the same as last year…woeful’ for now the optimistic are ignoring clean sheet stats and are instead dreaming of a mid-table finish.
For me, the biggest question over Lambert’s managerial reign still remains, and is growing with each game. Can he organize a defence? Because the longer the question remains unanswered the longer I’ll be a member of the pessimistic ranks heading into this season.
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