Aston Villa – The Inside Track

Looking ahead to Monday night's clash of the claret and blues

Aston Villa have had a great start to this Premier League season, but West Ham will be looking to upset them on Monday night. We spoke to Paul Taylor from the Aston Villa Loyal Fans Forum on Facebook, to get his views.

Who would you consider the best player is for West Ham? 

For the start of the season it has to be Antonio, an old-fashioned big set striker who is more than comfortable with the ball at his feet. He has already scored 3 goals this season and 11 since the restart so it makes me intrigued to see what he will achieve this year!

What do you think West Hams strengths and weaknesses are? 

Tradition breeds fear! West Ham United are a traditional club with a strong following and teams will fear coming to play you, however, this is hand in hand with the weakness and this fear factor has been lost with your new ground. That stifling loud atmosphere has gone, and no one is scared to play you anymore. It’s like you have gone from hard nut fanatic supporters to ladies and gentlemen. I have had many a scuffle in the streets outside the old ground and it was the away fixture I feared the most! 

How do you think Aston Villa will get on this season? 

A positive start, beyond what we could have hoped for. However I think most people will look at Villas results and think ‘this is going to be a funny season.’ How can you take apart the current, what were run away champions then get outplayed by a newly promoted Leeds. Survival is always a priority but I’m optimistic we will be comfortable mid to high table. We have skill, pace and confidence which was lacking last season.

Apart from Jack Grealish what player for Aston Villa should opposing teams watch out for? 

Think I will name two players here. Oli Watkins will get the supply to get the goals. Ross Barkley has to be the best and shrewdest loan signing of all time for us Aston Villa fans. 

Are you surprised about the start of this season compared to your struggles last season? 

Yes, I was expecting a relegation fight again but my glass is always half full and I always believe there are 3 teams worse than us, for sure!

What are your thoughts about the £14.95 PPV that Sky and BT are charging for certain games? 

It’s an absolute scandal, penalising fans due to the current conditions. I would rather give it to charity. The people in media and football have more money than I could ever hope for so give something back to the people that turn up week in and week out and pay their wages!! 

Why do you think it has taken so long for Jack Grealish to get into the England squad? 

He was Jekyll and Hyde on and off the pitch. I think his off-field antics put Southgate off. He was playing in a team with no confidence, so people didn’t actually know how good he was. 

Could you give our readers an interesting fact about AVFC that they may not know? 

Aston Villa’s first ever football game was played as half under rugby rules and a half under football rules! Villa Park is the only ground to have staged an international match in 3 different centuries and has also been the most used ground for FA Cup semi-finals that being 55 times. 

Do you think fans should be allowed back into stadiums?  

Yes, there are many controls that can be introduced and reducing capacity would make it easier to police. Fans would be sensible as they would be monitored and shamed if not. Especially due to coronavirus restrictions that are in place by the government it can easily be made safe for fans to return to stadiums.  

 How do you think the West Ham vs Aston Villa game will go?

It will be a tight affair, 2 well balanced teams but we seem to be playing better without the support. Villa win by one goal, Oli Watkins with the winner assisted by Ross Barkley. 

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