Recently by Martin Laurence
In what is the second installment of my blog from last week detailing just what sort of player we might be signing in Karim El Ahmadi, here we will gain a purely statistical viewpoint on Lambert's new lion.
So it seems Villa are on the verge of sealing another signing from the Eredivisie, this time in the shape of Feyenoord midfielder Karim El Ahmadi. The Dutch-born Moroccan international helped his side to a second placed finish last season and looks as though he could be new manager Paul Lambert's first signing at the club.
First up I'd like to apologise for my not-so-brief hiatus as designated Villa blogger for The Post. As you will all know by now I didn't get the job and I've just about come to terms with that. Apparently some chap called Lambert was the young manager the club were after, so I thought I'd have a little look at how the manager who many feel is merely a MON mark 2 might tick the boxes.
This Saturday sees the first return of Martin O'Neill to Villa Park since he left the club on the eve of last season much to the annoyance of the fans. Said annoyance has hardly wavered in many, who blame the Ulsterman for a number of, let's say, questionable financial outlays and a lack of loyalty.
The weekend's clash will see a stadium unite, in the majority at least, in their disdain for both managers perhaps like no other match this season. For what it's worth I'm not on the O'Neill hatred bus, as I don't really blame him for an admittedly fairly cowardly desire to keep his record unblemished with the foresight that he possessed.
With a plethora of injuries mounting up at just the wrong time of the season, even the majority who don't want the manager in place can notice that the gods seem to be against him right now.
The average age of Villa's outfield ten against Chelsea recently was just over 23 and a similar side has lined up since. The reality of the matter is that Villa will most likely field an inexperienced side until the end of the season, but can we get away with calling a number of our young stars youngsters anymore, and are the majority any better than alright?
There is no other topic that could be discussed in this blog than the health and wellbeing of Stiliyan Petrov. It was announced on Friday 30th March that our captain had been diagnosed with acute leukaemia, paling any qualms around the club, of which there are many, into insignificance.
In a season of mere mediocrity rather than spectacular lows, and very few highs one should add, this is undoubtedly the saddest moment in what has been a whimpering campaign.
Perhaps the major talking point at Villa last week came after Charles N'Zogbia revealed in an interview with French magazine L'Equipe that he felt he was being asked to defend too much under McLeish, amongst other things. The club claimed that N'Zogbia's was misquoted, though N'Zogbia had earlier retweeted a fan's opinion that his statements in the piece were bang on the money via Twitter. Must have been a mis-retweet...
However, these are not the first signs that the Frenchman is disillusioned with life at Villa Park. So does N'Zogbia have a point?
While the long term injury to Richard Dunne may have struck fear into those of a superstitious nature, with Birmingham having gone on a terrible run in the league under McLeish following the injury of the almost identically named Dann last season, they needn't have worried with the reliable Carlos Cuellar in reserve.
Whether the Spaniard should be considered as more than just a reserve splits opinions amongst the fans, but more often than not, when played in his favoured centre-back position, he duly delivers. A firm favourite in and around the club, Cuellar is yet to be offered a new contract with his current deal set to expire this summer and failure to do so, in my opinion, would be a grave error on McLeish's part.