Date: 14th October 2011 at 3:23pm
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It’s the return of Aston Villa and the return of VMC’s seven questions with the opposition. Mike Field straps himself in to fend off the first City offensive of the week…

1. Welcome to Manchester Aston Villa. The 7th placed Villans have had an unspectacular if steady start to the season yet arrive at Fortress Etihad with only 9 goals in the bank. City’s 23 goals need no introduction but we’ll throw them in gratuitously for good measure. What’s the story at Villa Park from boardroom to terrace? Have things settled down post Houllier?

‘As split as ever really. Things are looking up post Houllier simply because McLeish seems to have the team on his side, showing some passion and we have that battle back in games now. But whether you can class getting the defence to do their job and getting the team on the whole trying to earn their wage as a success is open to debate.

‘There’s a camp who are anti owner and board because we are looking after the financials now and not aiming to make another loss. Then there’s the camp who just see Ashley Young and Stewart Downing leaving as proof that Randy is no longer interested. Then there’s the standard manager stances of ‘like him’ and ‘willing to give him time.’ And the final group who wouldn’t applaud McLeish if he won the league because of his ties to Birmingham.

‘January and then the summer especially will tell fans a lot in terms of ambition and what the plan is now, but there is a lot of ill feeling at the moment.’

2. Dunne, Given, Ireland. Three Irish swashbucklers who once played for Man City. Give us your verdict on each of these signings and what role you feel they’ll play this season.

‘Dunney is as Dunney always has been. Interested, and he’s a phenomenal asset when on form. This season he seems interested again thankfully so he’s guaranteed to be a regular starter barring injury or a return to last season’s efforts.

‘Given could well already be our player of the year. Some fantastic stops to keep us in games already and he just has that ‘air’ of quality that has helped calm our defence and to a big degree, the fans. When the opposition attacks you aren’t as tense because 9 times out of 10 Given will have it.

‘Ireland seems to be slowly warming up and starting to click on the pitch now. He was never as bad as some painted last season before he was dropped. He was just an easy fall guy. It’s the age old thing with Ireland though, if he can find his form he will be a very key player for us, but that’s a big if.’

3. Head to Head. Where do you think City and The Villa will finish in the league and domestic cups come the days of reckoning next year?

‘City are almost guaranteed top 3, but I still don’t think for this season at least that you’ll take the top spot. But the improvement in your players understanding on the pitch is there for all to see. You’ve got to be good for at least one domestic cup run as well.

‘For us, I think it’s going to be a top 8 job at best. But I’d take that given our introduction of the younger players into the squad as points have been dropped through inexperience and will be dropped as the season goes along. But for the two or three who could make it, it’s worth having a steady season to give them the experience.

‘As for a cup run, well we’ve already buggered one so hopefully we’ll go out all guns blazing the next chance we get!’

4. ‘Shot by both sides:’ The Dangermen. Who should City be paying closest attention to at The Etihad on Saturday?

‘Agbonlahor has started the season in fine form and he seems to have more hunger following last season’s all round disappointment. The only question is does he play through the middle or does he end up wide and try cutting in? At the moment he’s been more dangerous than Bent.’

5. Roberto Mancini regularly starts English internationals Richards, Lescott, Barry, Milner, Johnson and Hart in his XI. Are you in favour of an English player quota minimum rule starting each Premier League game?

‘Not really as I don’t give much of a fig about the international distractions to be honest. Probably not the best person to have asked :-).’

6. Are The Citizens still guilty of ‘ruining football,’ one of the more hysterical charges levelled at the club since 2008?

‘Yes and no. Football was ruined long before your owners came to the shore, but City’s spending hasn’t helped. You’re just another horse in a very small race when it comes to the league but that race existed before you joined the party.

‘However, just as I’d probably lose all the love left I have for the game if we started spending like you have, there are far more Villans out there who want us to do just that so I can hardly decry Man City fans for loving the ride – but uber money in the game has ruined it. That started before Sky gave it a huge bump.’

7. And so to battle. Your match prediction?

‘This time I think you’ll definitely see more battle and heart from us, but I can’t see us getting anything from the game sadly.

‘2-1 to you but not a comfortable win…I hope.’

– Very many thanks and respect going out to Mike and everyone at Vital Villa. What did you make of his observations?

‘For The City View at Vital Villa Click Here: An Interview With A Manchester City Fan

all times East Manchester

Sa 15 Oct 15:00 Aston Villa, The Etihad, PL
Tu 18 Oct 19:45 Villareal, The Etihad, CLGS3
Su 23 Oct 13:30 the rags, the swamp, PL
We 26 Oct 19:45 Wolves, Molineux LC4
Sa 29 Oct 15:00 Wolves, The Etihad, PL