TH: How do you rate Aston Villa’s season so far?
PM: An utter shambles. In a relegation battle since the first day of the season when we lost to you lot 1-0. We’ve also lost against lower league opposition in both cups which has been a great source of embarrassment to the club and the supporters. It’s been an utter disaster and I think it’s been one of the worst seasons I’ve witnessed as a fan with the 8 – 0 loss at Chelsea being a low point.
TH: How do you think your summer signings have adjusted to the Premier League?
PM: Benteke has been a beacon of hope this season and shown that Paul Lambert isn’t entirely useless. El Ahmadi has been quiet, as has Brett Holman. Some of the younger signings like Lowton and Joe Bennett have shown promise but have been relied upon too much this season. Vlaar has been good but slightly inconsistent. The signing of Jordan Bowery confused everyone — a 21-year-old striker with a poor scoring record in League Two isn’t what most Premier League teams need!
TH: Paul Lambert came in for Alex McLeish in the summer. How do you assess his time in the Midlands?
PM: Shambolic. I genuinely think he might need time to change the team and make a difference. Maybe we’re a team in transition but we’re too close to the relegation zone for comfort and relegation would be a disaster. He was backed in the summer transfer window and perhaps we got too many players in and lost something but you only have to look at our squad on paper to see we shouldn’t be in the position we’re in.
TH: James Collins left for the Boleyn Ground in the summer. Do you think he’s been missed?
PM: I think we’ve missed his and Cuellar’s experience in defence and as I’ve said our defence has looked as young and experienced as it is at points this season. I like Collins as a player and to see how well he’s done this season has pained lots of Villa fans.
TH: Benteke has been in great form this season. Do you think he’ll be at Villa Park next season?
PM: If we survive then I think he might stay but I’m sure he’d move if we were relegated. Unfortunately I think we’re seeing an increase in players moving after one good season nowadays.
TH: Darren Bent has been playing regularly this season. Do you think he could make a difference?
PM: Everyone knows Darren’s talent as a goalscorer and I think if he had played this season he might of helped move us away from trouble. Rumours of appearance fees were dismissed but I’m concerned what the situation was earlier in the season and it definitely didn’t endear Lambert to the fans. I think he’ll move in the summer.
TH: Stephen Warnock is being linked with a move to East London. How do you rate him as a player?
PM: He’s a player on the decline in my opinion and I think he’s a high wage. He’s been on loan this season and reports haven’t been glowing. I wouldn’t lose sleep if he left.
TH: Do you think you’ll be able to successfully fend off relegation?
PM: I think a lot fans think we’ll be one of those clubs that drop in the last month and I’m one of them. We just don’t think we’ve got enough fight in team and ultimately that will be our undoing.
TH: Who should West Ham fans be wary of in the Aston Villa first XI when the club’s meet?
PM: Benteke and Benteke and possibly Benteke. I’m not sure as it depends on which Villa team turns up!
TH: What’s been your opinion of West Ham this season?
PM: I think the attritional 1 -0 win on the first day of the season set the tone for the rest of the season. It’s not been pretty in the most part but you’ve done well and you should be comfortably mid table come the end of the season.
TH: Which West Ham players would you have in your squad?
PM: Winston Reid in the defence would be a good addition as would James Tomkins. Diame and Noble could also help in midfield.
TH: What’s your prediction for both clubs this season? Aston Villa 19th, West Ham 13th.