Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Saturday August 15 2009
Well it`s finally arrived, put away the sun cream for another year, get out the wolly jumpers and scarves the football season is about to start and the Latics are all revved up and raring to go.
New boss Roberto Martinez has the pressure lifted slightly by starting his career in charge of the Latics with an away match at the somewhat indifferent Aston Villa.
Villa under Martin O`Neill flatter to deceive, are they a good side that some times lacks confidence and a killer touch or are they an average side that sometimes put on a show, for me they are the latter and for all the pundits and professors of doom we don`t have too much to fear today.
Indeed I feel that we can get out of the blocks flying and snatch a win, a draw and I will be slightly disappointed.
Some people may point to the departure of Cattermole has a major stumbling block, but if the stories coming out of the club are true then we will be MUCH better off without his arrogance and contempt and in Hendry Thomas we have a more than capable replacement.
Martinez may just throw a surprise today and include the Honduras midfield star in the team for his league debut despite his late arrival from international duties this week, such is Thomas` presence on the pitch.
The season ahead promises much and standing on the breach today I can see nothing but exciting times ahead, a good win to start us off and follow that up on Tuesday against Wolves and we will all be Martinez revolutionaries.
Latics boss Roberto Martinez:
'You can feel the excitement from every department of the football club'
'Obviously it's a little bit different this week with having a few players away on international duty, and it can be a little bit disruptive as you can imagine.
'We know what to expect from Villa and they've been in a similar position to us in having to cope with a few players being away this week, but still we're really looking forward to game.'
Villa boss Martin O'Neill
"If you are going to be competing at the very top your home form is important"
Bouma, Downing, Salifou are out whilst Petrov and Young are doubtful
Ex-players always seem to try harder against their former clubs and Heskey wont be any exception. We all know what he is capable of and also that sometimes he can be frustrating, lets hope he's frustrating for the Villa today
Olivier Kapo is out with a knee injury, Figueroa and Thomas are back from their World Cup exploits in Honduras but Martinez might be reluctant to use them.
Kirkland, Edman, Melchiot, Bramble, Boyce, Scharner, Brown, N'Zogbia, Gomez, Koumas, Rodallega, Scotland, Cho, Thomas, Figueroa, King, DeRidder, Watson, Pollitt
A lot will rest with Hugo this season, looks like he will be the lone striker so here's hoping that he hits the ground running
The last time Villa beat the Latics at Villa Park was in a league cup tie back in 1994 since then the Latics have won 2 and drawn 2, all in the Premier League
Heart say's lets have an opening day win for a change 1-0
Head say's an exciting 1-1 draw is in store
Date:Saturday August 15 2009
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