City take on Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon. Ahead of the game I spoke to Aston Villa blogger, Damian Dugdale, who owns the The Villa Blog to get Inside the Opposition.
Is Paul Lambert the right man to take Villa forward?
Is he the man to bring a bit of hope and optimism, then the answer is yes. To take Aston Villa forward though is another question. Should he be given a proper amount of time for us to find out, then the answer to that is also yes and what it really comes down to is that time will tell.
Villa seem to be rebuilding on a foundation of youth players with the likes Andreas Weimann and Barry Bannan, do you think this will prove to be successful?
It has to. We cannot compete with the likes of the two Manchester clubs and even quite a few others so we have to develop our own players from a young age and hope that if they do develop and the club moves forward, that they feel part of that. Those two are not the only ones though; we’ve got quite a few others and if they are promising, we shouldn’t be buying in players to take a place that could be theirs. What we should be doing is peppering the squad with quality but the core should be ours.
Christian Benteke was impressive against Manchester United last weekend but who has been the best signing for Villa this season?
On paper, it is Benteke, but I’d say Brad Guzan. We let him go at the end of last season but signed him back up soon after. For me, he has been the stand out player for us, week in week out.
What would constitute a good season for Villa?
Silverware. I’m not a big fan of saying top half or top six; it means nothing. The only sign of a good season for a club of our stature has to be silverware.
Richard Dunne was one of the finest City players in the last decade, winning player of the season three years in a row, and is something of a hero amongst the City fans. What is the perception of Dunne amongst the Villa fans?
That he likes a drink and that his heart is somewhere else.
Stephen Ireland is a product of the City academy, how do you rate him?
I like Ireland and he has looked better recently. We need him to get the type of form back that made him look so good playing for you and if that happens, then he could be instrumental for us in the next few seasons … if he stays.
A lot of people resent City since the takeover from the Abu Dhabi owners, where do you stand on that?
The game is broken and has been for years. If a multi billionaire owner came along and bought Aston Villa, I’d be over the moon, if his or her intentions were to spend what it took to buy success. But I’d far rather that the football authorities fixed the game and that Premier League players could be paid no more than £10,000 a week, that endorsement deals were by club (not player) and that for Premier League clubs, the owners could make some money but that a fair chunk (I’m thinking 50% + of the profits) was put back into grassroots football at a national level.
You’ll win. Or you should. But there is always a chance we can scrape a point, but it is a slim chance and if I were to bet on the game it would be on you, but I’m not betting on the game.