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Aston Villa - Opposition Views 1


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The guys over at AVillaFan were kind enough to answer a few short questions regarding our match today. Here is what they had to say:

-You were involved in a relegation battle last season but have managed to keep hold of your start player. What are your expectations for this season?
hOltENdR- Last season was hard at times but we ended well and that looks to have carried over the summer... i hope a top half finish.
ak47deol- I think we will be around midtable, wont be challenging for europe or in a relegation battle
avstu- Realisticly I don't think any of us would be unhappy with a cup run of some sort and a mid-table finish. We are under no illusions and are well aware that what Lambert is trying to do will take effort, but most importantly time.
AVEmpire- A comfortable season, mid table finish. Hope for more, expect a little less.
-Brilliant result in the first round against Arsenal. What did you make of that performance and how important, psychologically, is that first game of the season?
hOltENdR- It should give confidence, but Arsenal were poor, and the last time we went and beat a so called big club away (1-3 too) we had to go Stamford Bridge next... that didnt end so good.
ak47deol- Performance was poor imo but the result is what matters. It will be a massive boost for the lads as everybody had Arsenal down as a certain home win, should give us the confidence to go and get something at Stamford Bridge
avstu- New Man Utd manager David Moyes had a little moan because they meat yourselves, and a couple of other top clubs in their 5-6 weeks of the season - we had Arsenal, yourselves and Liverpool inside the first 7 days and most fans will agree with me when I say we was hoping to steal a point here and there but most importantly come out of the opening three games without taking a big beating.
So the Arsenal result was fantastic - despite what there fans say we deserved everything we got the weekend and possibly more.
AVEmpire- Loved how physical we played them and the ref allowed it. Hope the aggression carries on.
-What have you made of the signings Villa have made so far? And would you like to see more signings before the end of the window?
hOltENdR- New guys look bight and promising, relative unknowns so its too early to make any real comment on any of them, We always like to see new players, i struggle to think of anything we are desperate for at this point.
ak47deol- I think we are used to Lambert signing cheap unknown players in the hope of unearthing more talent like Benteke. I have been impressed with the lads who have come in so far especially Luna and Helenious. I'm sure you lads must rate Okore from the CL last season. I would still like to see an AM come in and possibly a RB
avstu- It was well publicized that our defense was a major weakness last season so we are hoping with Antonio Luna and Jores Okore coming in that we can steady the ship a little. Other signings like Tonev and Bacuna will add depth and competition to our paper thin squad.
AVEmpire- I would like to see one big signing but so far the signings have mostly added depth to the team.
-Benteke is obviously the man in form, but who else should we look out for tomorrow?
hOltENdR- Gabby seems to have found the boost button again, against Old man Terry he should have a field day.
ak47deol- Im not a huge fan of this lad but i would say be on the watch for Gabby, he has been in good form towards the end of last season and had a good game against Arsenal. On his day he can be great but he can equally be a shite
avstu- Without doubt Gabby Agbonlahor. So many people say all he has is pace - but he is very strong and will hold his own against most. He is currently in the form of his life and if you pay to much attention to Benteke you may just regret it.
AVEmpire- Karim El Ahmadi, if he plays, was excellent against Arsenal.
-Our biggest signing of the summer was Jose Mourinho. What do you make of the Portuguese manager in general and his return to Chelsea in particular?
hOltENdR- I am genuinely happy he is back in the premier league, I think he is quality and its usually worth listening to him.
ak47deol- Brilliant manager, great character and just great for the Premiership
avstu- I am friends with both Jim and Dave from TalkChelsea and they will back me up when I say I have always been a fan of Jose. Some say his arrogant - I say he's confident. There aren't many managers who are better at taking the pressure of his players and putting it all on to himself. And lets be honest - entertainment value - is there a better manager?
AVEmpire- I liked the move a lot, for both parties.
-What do you make of the current Chelsea team? Good enough to be challenging for the title or not quite?
hOltENdR- Without Mourinho i would of said no, but with, i think he can make the difference, Although, i hope he remembers JT and Co are not the players he left a few years ago, the legs have more mileage for a start.
ak47deol- With Jose as manager i think you will certainly be in the top 2, if you get a top draw striker then the league will be yours. Think he needs to make plans for Mata though as he really is class
avstu- Attacking wise I think you will always be a threat but I'm still not convinced by your back four and I feel you need a holding midfielder to protect that defense. Personally don't see how Gary Cahill was ever signed by yourselves let alone makes your first team - that man has well hell of an agent.
AVEmpire- I like Chelsea's team quite a bit. So much young talent in Oscar and Hazard. I currently have Chelsea ranked at number 2 behind Man City. Definitely have a shot at the title.
-If you could have one Chelsea player at Villa, who would it be and why?
hOltENdR- Hazard, I think him feeding Benteke would help push us further up the ladder.
ak47deol- Juan Mata, imo the best midfielder in the premiership. He is just a complete player. Im sure he would fit in fine with Benteke lol
avstu- So easy to say a Eden Hazard or a Juan Mata but I'm am completely obsessed by Michael Essien. I so hope he can get back to his very best this season for Chelsea.
AVEmpire- I've always liked Andre Schurrle...think he would be a good fit in our system.
-What line-up and formation would we most likely see from Villa on Wednseday?
hOltENdR- I dont expect many unforced changes from the Arsenal game.
ak47deol- I think it will be the same as at Arsenal:
Lowton Vlaar Clark Luna
Ahmadi Westwood Delph
Wiemann Benteke Gabby
Can be a 4-5-1 and attack as 4-3-3
avstu- 4-2-3-1 - very similar to the one at Arsenal except Clark will start ahead of Baker who is injured. Most villa fans would prefer Okore to start but his lack of football in pre-season will prevent this.
AVEmpire- 4-3-3. Agbonlahor, Benteke, and Weimann up front.
-Finally, please predict the result.
hOltENdR- Even tho I'm travelling down and paying the ridiculous ticket price, i think a draw is hopeful, realistically i just hope its not another drubbing.
ak47deol- I would love to take even a point but Jose has always had such a brilliant home record that i cant see anything but a home win espicially as our defence cant keep a clean sheet to save their lives!! 2-1 Chelsea :(
avstu- I don't like to predict results but providing we avoid a repeat of last year - I will be able to take it on the chin and move on.
AVEmpire- Realistically, I'd probably favor Chelsea by a goal or two and I hope its a open game where we both get after each other
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Most Villa fans seem to agree they're going to start with the 4-3-3. Will be interesting to see how Jose deals with their pace on the counter. Cahill should not be starting this game, unless he's learnt his lesson from the previous fixture between us and them.

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