Opposition Focus: Aston Villa


We spoke to blogger, Cole Pettem from 7500 to Holte to get an Aston Villa perspective ahead of Monday Nights game at the Cottage…

Fulham vs Villa: What’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Unfortunately, the first thing that comes to mind when many fans think of Fulham would be the 2018 play-off final defeat at Wembley; a day many of us wish that we could erase from our memory. At the same time, the thought of that loss also makes me think of redemption and possibilities of starting this Premier League campaign with six points.

A lot of Fulham fans have developed a mentality that Aston Villa are a competitive rival because of our playoff final back in 2018, not helped that your management team is now made up of ex Chelsea/Brentford in Terry/Smith. What’s the general feeling from Villa fans towards Fulham?

Aside from the 2018 play-off final, I have personally never had an issue when it comes to Fulham as a club. When it comes to the rest of the Villa fan base, I think the main sticking point stems from the media’s comparison of both clubs’ spending habits during their respective returns to the Premier League. From my standpoint, many Villa fans grew tired of those comparisons rather quickly even though the transfer requirements and policies of both clubs were vastly different from one another. At the end of the day, I guess that is what lazy journalism produces when both clubs spend in excess of £100 million.

What are your expectations for the season? 

The main objective this season has to be encompassed around improving on last season’s results and finishing around the mid-table mark. Securing Premier League survival on the final day of the season is not something I have any interest in going through again (It’s not for the faint hearted!).

How patient do you expect the fans to be with Dean Smith if you go through a poor run of form? 

Based upon how Villa faired once Project Restart came into play, a good chunk of the fan base knows what Dean Smith is able to churn out of these players and there is clear faith in his abilities as our manager. From that point of view, it would take something rather drastic for Smith to lose his job; something that not many Villa fans would want to see as his personal ties with the club tug at all of our heart strings.

How big is it for the club that Jack Grealish signed a new contract recently?

It’s MASSIVE. Keeping Jack at the club reinforces where our ownership group aims to take the football club and that sort of ambition is something that has been missing for 10+ years. If anything, keeping Jack around the club increases the potential to sign high calibre players and more importantly, it increases the opportunity to secure Premier League safety in the long-term.

Are you happy with your transfer activity so far? Which areas would you like to strengthen before the window closes? 

I’m very happy with the transfer business that the football club have made so far during this extended transfer window. This particular window had to be all about obtaining the next tier of player in terms of calibre and Villa have done just that in my opinion. More importantly, bringing in the likes of Matty Cash, Emi Martinez, Bertrand Traore, and Ollie Watkins increases the competition within our squad and that is something that was desperately needed headed into this season.

Moving forward, I would like to see Villa sign another winger, which will essentially create even more competition and quality in the squad and allow for Jack Grealish to move back into the midfield when needed. On top of that, I also believe we need to sign another midfielder as some of our fringe players look as though they could be on their way out. Lastly, with Samatta seemingly on his way to Fenerbache on a season-long loan deal (Writing this on Wednesday, September 23rd so don’t hate me for the outdated news), signing another striker to compete with Keinan Davis for the back-up position while Wesley continues to recover from injury is another key area of improvement for the football club.

What are your predictions for the top four and bottom three this season?

When it comes to the top four, my predictions are as follows:

1. Liverpool
2. Manchester City
3. Chelsea
4. Arsenal

Regarding the bottom three, I am predicting the following:

18. West Ham

19. Fulham (Sorry!)

20. West Brom

How do you see the game panning out next Monday?

This is in an intriguing game for both teams. Will Fulham continue to leak goals this season? How will Villa look playing 11 v 11 for a full 90 minute match? There are so many questions surrounding either team, which I am sure will make this an entertaining match. Regardless, I have to be bias here and go for an away win; something that would really boost our hopes and dreams for this Premier League campaign. 

Score Prediction

2-1 Villa

Thanks to Cole Pettem from @7500toHolte for answering our questions. Check out their website here.