The_Steve ponders the new season.
Is it me... Or is there a renewed sense of togetherness in the squad? After the departure of Kersa and Culverhouse. Lambert giving the squad a clean break and bringing some leaders to the squad, we are seeing the fruits of that labour.
When our senior players like Guzan/Senderos reassure or celebrate at full-time with our younger players (e.g. Baker/Grealish) it makes a world of difference from last season.
For a squad often bereft of confidence last season, these small changes are noticeable and it's reflected in our approach to games. A more cautious but less naive Villa side probably explains why we've only conceded one goal in four.
Nathan Baker looked a different player when next to Senderos - yes, it's one game and an outliner does not mean a pattern. But such a vocal leader at the back must be reassuring. Especially when you have full backs confident in their own positions.
There are so many workhorses in this squad now. The midfield three of Westwood, Delph and Cleverley ran their socks off to close Liverpool down yesterday and I've noticed we've become harder to break down.
The hope is the team is just as much a unit off the pitch as it is on it. Roy Keane has been a breath of fresh air. But I think there are various factors to explain this dramatic turnaround in a short period of time.
For all the unnecessary restrictions placed upon Lambert. He's built a squad that is more competitive and drilled.
We've still got Kozak, Okore, Benteke to come back into the squad. Sanchez and Cleverley will give us another option when settled. The likes of Grealish make for impact subs.
Somehow, it feels like, some of the demons of last season of are exorcised. It's very early days, and I write high (not literally) off the back of an incredible start to the season, one I certainly did not predict.
Togetherness breeds confidence and the team are proving it thus far.
Source: Smells like team spirit?