Ask the Opposition

Ask the Opposition 8 – Aston Villa

On the backdrop of a sealed Wembley visit, Manchester City gear their heads towards another cup competition, in which they visit an Aston Villa side that has looked measurably better in recent weeks. City drew blanks earlier this season at Villa Park but know full well that Remi Garde’s side will relish the prospect of an FA Cup upset on Saturday.

To get the latest from Birmingham, I spoke to SBNation’s Aston Villa blogger, Elis Sandford, from 7500ToHolte.

Things finally seem on a slow upwards trend at B6. Is that the case?

I think so. Obviously, aside from the first couple of games after a new manager takes charge, the rebuilding of a side takes time, and it’s definitely taken time for Remi Garde to get his ideas across. But in the last couple of weeks, things have started to improve. It’s now a question of whether or not it’s too late to save our season.

You still haven’t made a signing this January. Is there a feeling that the higher-ups at Villa have accepted that relegation is a formality?

It’s not so much accepting relegation, but rather factoring in relegation before making an investment. It’s all well and good splashing the cash and it not working out when you’re playing in the Premier League, but the last thing we want is a wasted investment at a time of uncertainty. Of course, we would have a new goalkeeper, but for the daft work permit rules.

How much would an FA Cup run mean to your supporters at this stage of the season?

Not a lot to be brutally honest! Don’t get me wrong, we love the FA Cup, but this season, the focus has to be on the league. Three points in the League will go so much further than another trip to Wembley this year, unfortunately.

I guess it’s only fair we talk about Fabian Delph. Does he still make you fume or have fans come around to the fact that snaking Villa and playing for City was a far better proposition than staying?

Aston Villa fans’ issue with Delph was never about the transfer being a better move for his career. In fact, most of us agree with that. Our problem was the manner in which he left. Once you pledge your loyalty and future to a club, and then turn around a week later and leave, that’s a bridge well and truly burnt. We won’t forget what he said, and subsequently did, so I’d like to think that we as Villa fans won’t let him forget either.

Talk to me about City sweetheart Micah Richards. What has his effect been on the club since he arrived in the summer?

Positive, on the whole. His desire to play at centre back as opposed to right back is hugely frustrating, and his lack of experience in the centre has hurt us at times, but his attitude and work rate is second to none. At times this season, some Villa players have looked completely indifferent, but never Richards.

One City player you’d take at Villa?

Probably Joe Hart. It’s hugely tempting to say Aguero or Toure, but Villa need a new keeper, and Hart sure fits the bill.


1-1 (I can’t bet against us, sorry!)

Thanks for coming on Elis. Good luck for the rest of the season.

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