It is often noted that Delph is the only pre-Lambert signing that has managed to avoid the chop under his reign. Lambert has shown incredible faith in the youngster, who has been full of promise since such a young age at Leeds. Delph is the only midfielder to start every game so far this season. The manager likes to play him as a deep-lying midfielder who breaks up play and gets up and down the pitch, box-to-box. He is more than justifying the £8m price tag Martin O’Neill shelled out and finally repaying the faith the Villa Park faithful gave him. If there is one concern it is his lack of goals for the club thus far, but judging by this video from his days at Leeds, that can be blamed on a change of position and role, rather than a loss of quality on Fabian’s part.
Yacouba Sylla loves the Villa, but fans will hope that we can chant his name whilst he’s on the pitch, rather than the bench this year. Otherwise, we’ll simply have another Mustapha Salifou on our hands. He did well when he came into the team last year, but he’s still effectively an unknown entity in the Premier League. Sylla has only started one game this year but is young and will provide adept cover for Villa this season.
Still getting used to the pace of the English league, Tonev has been used as an impact substitute 4 times so far this season, starting just once. Good off both feet, he’s so far looked quick, with a wicked shot, but his decision making and final ball have been a tad slack for him to have earned the right to be a regular starter off the flank. The attributes to play at the top-level are there, but perhaps Lambert has question marks about the Bulgarian’s fitness and shape. These can be worked on throughout the season though, and improvement will come hopefully soon enough.
Yet to appear so far this year, Gardner has already been singled out at MOMS as Villa’s most promising young player. There’s not much more to say for someone who’s been compared to every top English midfielder there’s ever been in the past couple of decades. Given time, Gardner will shine, so long as he’s given minutes this year. UTV
*Huge thanks to Kurt Marcus for the top trump graphics.
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