Date:Wednesday December 20 2006
I'm not a coward by any means but asking The Fear itself to answer my questions ahead of the Villa game was a bit too much even for me! Fortunately, I found him in a good mood...
1. Villa had a really impressive start to the season, so why have you been stumbling so badly in recent weeks (months)? The reason behind the tons of draws?
We've not really been doing too badly to be fair, we were unlucky to lose against Dirty Bolton, we basically hammered them but didn't get the ball in the net (which I concede is the general idea of the game!). Man City, hands up, we were awful and Liverpool beating us really was no disgrace, our squad is small and Martin O'Neill hasn't had time to bring in quality signings yet as he joined Villa fairly late in the summer when the transfer window was about to close.
Basically we've not been taking our chances, some games, like West Ham, Blackburn and Watford should have been out of reach but we didn't convert the good chances we had.
At the moment Villa is in transition, this team is very close to the one that nearly got relegated last season, so to be in the top ten with the knowledge that we've got decent American owners (dig intended!!) ready to spend, I think we are all pretty much satisfied, shame to have lost the 3 points to Bolton at the weekend though, that would have kept us up there in the European positions.
2. Villa will play United three times in less than a month. Which fixture will be the most important?
I guess the Cup game would be good to win, to be perfectly honest, any fixture is important, but the FA Cup is special.
3. What do you think of United's title challenge?
I like the fact Chelsea aren't running away with it, the more teams in the race the better, but I do think we need to be careful that it doesn't become a two horse race season in season, we've got to get things mixed up a bit in the Prem otherwise it will just become a corporate bore.
4. Henrik Larsson will probably make his United debut against Villa in the FA Cup, what's your opinion on him?
Legend - but shocked at his return, a few years ago he'd have been awesome on the Premiership.
5. What advice would you give to Martin O'Neill ahead of Saturday's game?
To wear a coat, going to be cold so I believe. I don't think he'd need my advice, I suppose I would suggest that he trips up Shrek (Rooney) on the way out in the hopes he can't play?
6. Who could be your key performers on Saturday?
Gareth Barry, when he is at his best he runs the team. Would be nice to think Baros or Angel could get the ball AND SHOOT.
7. Which United players do you fear most?
I fear Shrek, frightens the life of me, good job he was blessed with talent as he sure as heck wasn't blessed with looks! I love Ryan Giggs, amongst my top 10 of favourite Premiership players, a truly gifted player who graces any pitch. Hope he has a stinker on Saturday though!
8. Christmas is coming, what would be the best present for Villa?
For them to finally take me on as left-back (in the dressing room) I could do with the wages. I'd love to see us be able to buy 2-3 quality players in January but have real doubts whether we will be able to as teams don't usually let the quality go half way through the season. I'd love for us to come through the Christmas fixture list with a couple of draws v Man Utd, and wins against Tottenham and Charlton Athletic. Another Christmas wish might be for Man Utd and Chelsea players to all come down with flu, is that too nasty though????!
9. Both teams have lost their last games, what influence will it have on Saturday's clash? Prem teams usually loath to face a wounded but hungry United, do you agree?
I was gutted that West Ham won last weekend, I think they've given Man Utd a wake up call that I was hoping Villa would produce. Hey, Villa are no walk in the park these days, we won't roll over like we did last season under O'dearme, so you'll have to be on your game to win.
10. Martin O'Neill will have a lot of money to spend in January, according to the rumours, so which players are you most keen on?
I'd like Alan Smith, Shaun Wright Phillips and Jonathan Fear.
11. And finally, a prediction for the game?
0-0 will do us, I have said if we win I'll run across Villa Park naked with a Santa hat on, but I'm not sure if the world is ready for that to be honest, and also I'm not sure the cold weather would do me any 'favours' ;-)
This last promise fills me with FEAR but I hope the Villa players will be discouraged by this piece of information!
And of course you can read my answers here
Date:Wednesday December 20 2006
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