Ahead of Villa’s penultimate away fixture in the Premier League, the Villa Underground has caught up with the Watford blog ‘DoNotScratchYourEyes’.
As to be expected, there are a frank set of views on the current state of Aston Villa from an outsiders perspective, as well as some insight into the opposition this Saturday;
currently sit on 41 points and reached the semis of the FA Cup.
From the outside looking in, this seems like a decent first season following
promotion and includes a cup run.
It’s surprising to read press stories
that your manager, Quique Sanchez Flores, could be moved on. What’s your
take on this?
No Watford fan can deny that this season has been a
success, we’re staying up in the Premier League for the first time in our
history, we’ve had a day out at Wembley and our defence is the best I have ever
But since the turn of the year our league form has nosedived, and
without that memorable win away at Arsenal in the FA Cup Quarter Finals, 2016 would have
been completely miserable.
Quique is under serious pressure because we haven’t
seen anything since the turn of the year to suggest he can improve us as an
Our owners are ruthless in their pursuit of success, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to upgrade to a more attack-minded
head coach in the summer. In fact, I’m excited by the prospect.
What is your view looking in as an opposition fan
of Villa? – and how do you see Saturday’s game panning out?
When we won at Villa Park back in November, I remember thinking there might be
some hope for Villa as Scott Sinclair ran us ragged in the first half.
back now though, that was the only time we have scored three goals away from
home all season which must say something about Villa’s defensive shortcomings
I saw the lack of investment in January as a blatant admission
of defeat from the men in charge, and no football fan should find themselves
supporting a club that aren’t even giving it a go.
I think Saturday could be a
lot of fun, both sides know where they’ll be playing their football next
season, the shackles should be off, and in theory it could be a very open, high-scoring game… In theory.
VU: Villa are ill-prepared for life in The
Championship. Given that you were outside of the top flight for 8
years, what advice would you have for us in attempting to bounce back
From the outside looking in I fear it might take Villa a while to stabilise
down there before having a real go at promotion. It took us three seasons from
the Pozzo family takeover to achieve what we set out to do, and the key will be
It’s a physical league where pace & strength are more effective
than in the Premier League, so expect some less glamorous but very effective
signings if Lerner gets his cheque book out.
In my view, Villa always
travel well & make a right old racket, and there’s nothing better than an
away day at a ground you haven’t visited before.
As I said chatting to a Villa
fan on the train recently, the Championship is a cracking league, there’s more
football matches than in the Prem, some cracking away days like Leeds, Forest
& Wednesday, and there are some big local derbies to look forward to with
Wolves & Birmingham, Walsall might even join you thought the play-offs!
fans are more than aware of Troy Deeney with him being a Birmingham City
fan & his goal celebration in front of The Holte End earlier this
Who else amongst your squad is worth keeping an eye out
for? Any hidden gems or future prospects?
With us sitting on 41 points, I would hope to see a Watford side with width
& pace, something Flores has been averse to doing all year. We signed the
impressive Nordin Amrabat in January & Adlene Guedioura has made a real difference
Keep an eye on those two if they play. Knowing the gaffer he’ll
probably pick four central midfielders & we’ll get exposed down the flanks,
just like we did at Wembley on Sunday.
VU: Given that Leicester
are now all but certain to win this seasons Premier League title, can
you foresee any situation whereby Watford could do the same?
The Leicester City story is fantastic, but I view Southampton as the benchmark
for Watford. When Saints’ target evolved from staying up to challenging for
Europe they disposed of Nigel Adkins and upgraded to Mauricio Pochettino.
Watford’s Gino Pozzo is similarly ruthless if he doesn’t think the club is
progressing fast enough. I would class top-half stability & silverware
within two years as a more realistic, but very ambitious goal.
Not to rub it in, but it’s something special
having owners at the club who we trust & believe in.
Established in 2011 – The Villa Underground is an independent Aston Villa social-blog & website. Featuring pre-match discussion, post match reaction, opinion, satire, a podcast, news & social media comment on all matters affecting AVFC.