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Villa v City: Opposition view

The Villans lie rock bottom of the Premier League table but with a new man at the helm, are about to embark on a new era.

So, what do their fans make of the appointment? And how to they see Sunday's game against City panning out? We spoke to Damian Dugdale (@AVFCBlog) who gave us the lowdown...

How are you feeling ahead of the game?

All things considered, not bad. Sure, we're bottom of the table, but it's only eleven games in and in truth is we can get out of it.

And even though we've appointed a manager with three years' experience and none in the Premier League, we've got the players to get us out of it and the new manager has January to bring in one or two more.

I mean, it literally can not get any worse.

Would you say Remi Garde’s arrival has brought optimism? Do you think he is the right man for the job?

There is certainly some optimism around the club at the moment, but we had that with Sherwood and Lambert, even though they were both the wrong appointment for us.

There was even a very small section that thought Alex McLeish could do well and that really should ring alarm bells.

However, I think it's fair to say it's blind optimism and mostly because as I wrote above, he's only had three years as a manager and Lyon did better the season after he left than in any of the three he was there.

But is he the right man for the job? Only time will tell but we have to believe he is.

While it was perhaps unrealistic to expect instant changes, did you see encouraging signs from the players in the game against Tottenham?

He sat in the stands for the match at Spurs, but I'm sure the players were playing for him in a sense and even though it means nothing now, we were very close to losing by one and we had the chances to get two goals.

I'd not say there was a real difference in the performance, but how we set up to play was a little more comforting to see.

City have quite a good recent record against Villa in recent years. Why do you think that is?

I think it's fair to say that the quality of the squad has played a big part in recent seasons and us having some fairly inept managers has helped.

What kind of game are you expecting?

Impossible to say really. However, it would be nice to see something different from what we've been served up under Sherwood. And he has had all week to talk to the players and try to get across a few of the basics.

You might laugh but we've so often just hit hopeful balls or just got the ball into the final third and not known what to do. But that's going to take time, but it would be nice to see some composure or thought with what we're doing with the ball and that includes dead ball situations.

How do you expect Villa to line-up? And in what formation?

Again, impossible to say but from all I've read, I'd not be surprised if it's 4-2-3-1. In terms of who'll be starting, again no real idea as we've got pretty much a fit squad.

I'd like to see Traoré and Veretout get involved and I think most Villa fans would like to see Ayew start up front. And I know I'm not talking for all Aston Villa fans here, but it would be nice to see Micah Richards at right back instead of the middle.

Where do you think the key battles will take place on the pitch?

My head says the battle will be in our final third my head says it will be your left back that suffers because we start with Traoré and he tears you apart. But my head is usually right.

Who should City be wary of?

I think you'll have picked up on this, but if he starts Adama Traoré will be a threat. We've not seen much of him this season but when he has played, he's made a big impact. And he's fit.

Also, if Ayew starts and he's played in his favoured position, it's only a matter of time before it starts to happen for him too. There is definitely something about him.

Who do you think Villa should be wary of?

You're top of the table having scored 26 goals in 11 games. I think it's fair to say that whoever you put up front is who we have to be wary of. And probably De Bruyne, if he plays.

But we shouldn't forget to mention the likes of Touré and Sterling too. You've probably identified a trend here, so I'll stop.

With players on either side set to face their former clubs, will there be an added spice to the occasion?

I think it's fair to say that this will likely mean a lot to Richards but that Aston Villa fans can't wait to see Fabian Delph back at Villa Park. I have a feeling he'll get a reception and many are looking forward to sharing their feelings towards him.

Dare to cast a score prediction…?

I never predict we'll lose even if sometimes I've had a bet on the opposition, so I can't say you're going to beat us on Sunday so lets just say that anything is possible.

Where do you think both teams will finish this season?

You're either going to win it or come second. If I was to place a bet and use my head, I'd say you'll win it. But I think it all depends on what Arsenal do in January. Us, we'll finish 12th and yes, that's very much blind optimism for you.

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