I also answered some of their questions, so stop over there if you’d like to see what I said as well.
Through It All Together: How are the new owners doing? It seemed like Villa were set for an implosion at the end of last year, but everything seems to be fine now. What happened?
7500 To Holte: The new owners are doing just fine. They’ve done everything right so far! They kept Steve Bruce on in the summer to ensure they didn’t destabilise the club, then they removed him when he’d hit his ceiling at the club. They then went on to hire Dean Smith (in a rare forward-thinking move for Aston Villa) and enact a plan that involved hiring new coaches, a CEO and a Director of Football. All the right moves have been made, and we now seem to be operating as a sensible club. The old regime seemed very ‘Leeds’ and honestly, I’m reminded of Peter Ridsdale a lot by how they worked. For example, loaning players from the Premier League is fine, but you must either do that or spend big - not both. They gambled without thinking and they came close to sinking the club. I’m very thankful that Villa have been given a second chance and I’m very glad that the spending has been cut and we are seemingly acting smart.
TIAT: Jack Grealish will reportedly miss the match due to injury. How will Villa cope?
7TH: They’ll have to cope by finding someone as dangerous as Jack to plug in. The loss of Jack gives you guys an extra man to mark one of ours, which is just no good. We need some trickery, so I’d like to see us put in Callum O’Hare. I’m sure Bielsa will see that coming, but at the very least it gives you something to think about. I’m hoping Jack makes it, he can do a lot of good things, including winning set pieces. We’re good at those.
TIAT: Who should Leeds fans look out for? Is there anyone that non-Villa fans wouldn’t have heard of that would cause some problems for Leeds?
7TH: Look out for John McGinn. He’s easily one of the best footballers I’ve ever seen at Villa Park. The way he moves, runs and passes is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. He’s incredible and he is pure football. A organic footballing machine and a really nice person to boot. Surely you’ll know about him, but I’m hoping that you, like others, will underrate him. He’s a monster.
TIAT: What kind of style of play has Dean Smith brought to Villa Park?
7TH: Dean Smith seems to be a ‘mini Bielsa’ of sorts. They play similar styles of football. I believe Smith is all about aggressive possession while Bielsa is focused on dominant pressing and off the ball positioning. It’s really two sides of the same coin here and I’m excited to see how it plays out. Smith is still a fairly young coach, so here’s hoping he picks up something from the God you’ve got on the touchline. We’ll try to do most of what you’re doing, but with a home crowd behind us, we’ll try to do it better.
TIAT: Predict the score.
7TH: It’s a return grudge match for the two managers and I don’t expect Smith to get the best of Bielsa twice in a row. That being said, it’s at home and I trust in Villa. 3-1 to my boys. I do have a soft spot for Leeds though, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see that result in reverse. Thanks!