Latics Speyk to Aston Villa
Aston Villa are in town for the re-arranged fixture that was called off back at the beginning of January due to the heavy snow and freezing conditions so it is my good fortune to have the opportunity to meet up once more with Villa fan and Vital Football big wig Jonathan Fear, better known as The Fear.
So lets see how the cyber chat about all things Latics and Villa went:
worbo - Good to meet up again, a lot warmer than last time, it was that cold our heating broke! Anyway there is no danger of the game being called off this time round, now I`ve said it
The Fear - ahem, well you never know, it is cold up t'north!!!!!!!!!
worbo - I`m feeling a bit down at the moment, we got smashed on Saturday by our friends from over the border at the Reebok and I am pleased that this game has come round quickly so that we can blow the cobwebs off so to speak but we need Villa to give us some space to play, how will MON have his team line up, will you go for attacking football or sit back and try for countering?
The Fear - To me this is a must win game for Villa. We need to be attacking from start to finish, none of the fathing around or playing only one good half. We have spent the money, we have the quality and we HAVE to get the full 3 points. Not being arrogant of complacent, just if we are truly fighting for 4th, we have to get go for it on Tuesday night, I'd rather go out a loser having tried than try to defend and counter. We have two games in hand over most above and have to win them both to stay in reach; if we don't then we are fighting for 6th place only imho.
worbo - We both have some big games between now and the end of the season; obviously they are big for different reasons. We are chasing three wins that would all but guarantee Premier League survival for another year; although we have some tough fixtures coming up I believe we will manage this, just.
Villa on the other hand are chasing 4th spot and the glory of Champions League qualification alongside trying to reach your second cup final this season. If I was to offer you either winning the FA cup or 4th spot in the league which one would you take or do you think you can achieve both?
The Fear - FA Cup. Silverware is what I'm interested in, not finishing 3rd loser and going into the play boys league where realistically we have no chance of winning. Don't get me wrong, 4th would be a massive achievement and we do as a club need it, the finances push a club onward, we could attract more quality (strikers especially) and our profile goes up. But I don't think we could beat lifting the FA Cup for the first time since 1957.
worbo - When I look at Villa I feel your midfield is your strength, Petrov, Downing, Milner and Young are all attack minded players and they have the ability to hurt most teams but they aren`t what you`d call defensive midfield players so I can imagine that your back four can get left exposed at times, can this lead to problems that perhaps we could exploit or am I clutching at straws?
The Fear - I think our strength is a rock solid defense. Damn it, now I've said that, you'll get 3 on Tuesday! Collins and Dunne (and Carlos Cuellar when played in the centre) have been rock solid for us and Brad Friedel is also in great form this year. We do have quality all over the pitch, were we are lacking is the lethal final ball + someone to regularly finish, even with the scruffy goals like Owen, Fowler, Shearer etc often used to nip in and get.
So I do think you are clutching at straws, we have built from the back and I'd say the defense is the rock that pushes the rest of the team onward. Sometimes however the strikers especially do put too much pressure on them by giving the ball away cheaply.
worbo - Watch out for the Zog, you are being warned. Charles N`Zogbia has been simply fantastic for the Latics this season, his pace and skill on the ball frighten opposing sides to death, I cant believe the Geordies had him playing left back! Stop the Zog and you would stop a lot of our creative play. Double up on him and force him down the line onto his right foot.
Who is Villa`s dangerman and how would you recommend we stop him?
The Fear - If John Carew is on song, he is unstoppable. Trouble with him is he is a 1 in 10 player and he was great just a couple of games ago v Reading! James Milner is also a massive threat and a great engine for the midfield.
worbo - Did you sign anyone of note in the January transfer window?
We brought in centre back Gary Caldwell from Celtic, he`s been playing really well and been very vocal on the pitch, looks a good signing, also we got Victor Moses from Palace, one for the future, only 19 and bags of talent and Marcelo Moreno a Bolivia international striker, took him on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk, Moreno is only playing in home games for some reason so he should line up against you lot
So did you sign anyone?
The Fear - No :(
LOL. Must admit, we were warned early on that MON didn't think there would be much action and I'm not sure what we really need (a top striker) would have been available in January.
worbo - So to the game, I can see it being an exciting encounter, I`d love to say we will win but to be honest I`d be more than happy with a draw so I am going for a 1-1 with some close calls at either end, how do you see it?
The Fear - As I say, we have to win, so I'm going 2-0 and will be praying all day Tuesday to the Good Lord Paul McGrath!
Good luck for the rest of the season fellas, genuinely hope you stay up and think you will.
worbo - Good to chat and good luck for the season, after Tuesday of course.
See the return interview on Vital Villa
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