Manchester City vs Aston Villa – The Opposition’s View
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on March 4, 2016
After Wednesday night’s disappointing and thoroughly lacklustre performance away at Anfield, City return to the Etihad Stadium for the first team in three games, where they face struggling Aston Villa – a side ‘battling’ for their Premier League status.
With Aston Villa’s season spiralling out of control and heading towards relegation from the Premier League, Saturday’s game against City may be a foregone conclusion. You would have thought, despite City’s most recent performance against Liverpool in the league, that their quality will be too much for Villa. On the other hand, Villa certainly have a point to prove, and with them playing without any fear at the Etihad, an upset could always be a possibility – it is City after all.
With several questions in mind, I took to Twitter and spoke to Aston Villa fan Matty (@Bacxna) and asked for his views on Villa’s season so far, Rémi Garde, former City players and some other key points regarding tomorrow’s tie.
It’s fair to say it has been disastrous so far for Aston Villa, but what do you think has gone wrong this season so far?
You’ve got to start off by looking at our summer transfer window of 2015 where we didn’t replace Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph adequately. Idrissa Gana Gueye has been quality this season and deserves a lot of credit – the first season in the Premier League for a large majority of players is never easy. However, one of the key aspects of that transfer window was how we replaced Benteke – a Championship striker in Rudy Gestede. Sure he’s scored goals now and again, but when you compare him with Benteke, a frequent goalscorer, it is a massive contrast. Also, during the Summer in which we spent £50 million, Tim Sherwood was only responsible for the signing of three or four of the 13 players we signed; that was down to the board, who clearly signed the large majority of the players (without the consent of Sherwood).
How much of Villa’s recent performances can be put down to Rémi Garde, or has it been an accumulation of other factors?
Rémi Garde can’t really be blamed for any of our recent performances. Maybe when we were 0-6 down to Liverpool, bringing on Alan Hutton wasn’t the best move he could’ve made. However, he has come into a football club, bearing in mind it isn’t even his squad, inheriting a team wholly built by Sherwood and the board, and has won more points than Tim Sherwood did. Garde can’t be blamed for the results, especially when the players aren’t showing any signs of fighting the possibility of relegation. It is evident that he does want to lead the club forward but it is being made even more difficult when he doesn’t have any financial backing from Randy Lerner (as seen by the January Transfer window of 2016).
What have you made of ex-City players Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott?
The word that I would use for those two would definitely be ‘inconsistent’. Micah Richards was a rock when he played for City but that was when he was played in his favoured right-back position. At the start of the season, he was played as a centre-back and it became evident, very quickly, that he simply wasn’t suited for that position at all. He was exposed far too easily and far too often. As for Joleon Lescott on the other hand, he has been relatively decent. He’s got us 7 points out of our last 16 but is now looked down upon by a large majority of the Villa support due to his poor attitude, most notably his ‘Twitter antics’. If both of them were to remain at the club in the Championship, then I’m sure we could have a strong defence going forward.
If any, which player/s at Villa have the quality or potential to attract some of the ‘top’ clubs (if the possibility of relegation became reality at the end of the season)?
Adama Traoré is the one that stands out for me. With his first run on the ball in the Premier League, he got us a valuable goal against Crystal Palace. The fans cry out for him to get regular game time due to the fact that he brings an attacking threat the team (something that has clearly been missing all season). In addition, against Sunderland, he made a powerful run to set up Carles Gil as well as tearing up games for our U21 side. It is fair to say that, due to him coming from Barcelona, he has the quality AND potential to play for one of the big Premier League sides.
Jordan Ayew would be another player I would point out. He has an unbelievable work rate and never stops running even when the team is down and out. He always seems to fight for the team and thoroughly appreciates the fans, both home and away. He also has the ability to find his way past a defender as well as having that instinct to find the net.
Finally, we have Jordan Amavi. Unfortunately, injury has massively affected him but if he was still playing for the side, he would bring us a much better-attacking threat. He has the ability to deliver a quality ball into the box as well as dribble past defenders and have the confidence to turn a defensive situation into an attack very quickly.
Going back to the FA Cup encounter this year at Villa Park, are you disappointed that you didn’t throw everything at that competition and what did you make of Kelechi Iheanacho that day?
If I’m being totally honest, I am glad that we have been knocked out. If you look at last season when we made it all the way to the final, you could see in the players’ performances that they were far too focused on a day out at Wembley, rather than their Premier League commitments. Despite it looking highly likely now, when we got knocked out of the FA Cup, several Villa fans thought it would be beneficial due to the fact that the players and coaching staff would be able to have full focus on our fight for survival.
As for Kelechi Iheanacho, he is absolute quality and has the potential to become a world class striker. It’s been proven several times now this season including his first goal away at Crystal Palace when fantastic movement and goalscoring awareness grabbed City a late winner. If I was him, I would certainly be looking at getting a loan move away from City to get that vital experience that every young player needs, and maybe come back as a very experienced young player and start fighting for his position even more. It is always going to be hard for any striker to get into City’s team ahead of Sergio Agüero but like I said, if he was to be loaned out and play regular first team football, it could be massive for the kid.
Last question; do you dare to predict the outcome of tomorrow’s game?
I’m going to go for an absolute mauling by City and say: Manchester City 5 – 0 Aston Villa (Agüero x3, Yaya Touré and Raheem Sterling)
Make sure to follow me on Twitter: @Beardamendi
As well as today’s guest: @Bacxna
And finally From The Stands: @FromTStands