Aston Villa face lower league opposition in the Carabao Cup this evening as the squad travel to Yeovil Town. We spoke to Glovers fan Ollie to get a heads up before tonight’s game.
Words by Harry Trend (@HazaTrand)
By the time the League Cup final comes around on the 24th February, it’ll have been 23 years since Villa last lifted the trophy. Villa start this years road to Wembley in the South West away to Yeovil, and for this edition of the opposition’s view I’ve enlisted the help of Glovers fan Ollie Marsh (@ollie_marsh).
Ollie has supported Yeovil Town since he was a boy, and was a season ticket holder at Huish Park until moving away for university limited his attendance at Huish Park to just the odd game. His dad, who still goes to every home match, is a boyhood Villa fan, making Tuesday’s tie all the more interesting!
How would you rate your summer transfer dealings out of 10 and why?
7. We’ve had yet another high turnover of players which is disappointing, but we’ve become quite used to that and there are still few positives to take from the summer window.
Keeping hold of centre back Omar Sowunmi and versatile defender Tom James – albeit only because he failed a medical at West Brom – was a pleasant surprise.
And in terms of our acquisitions, we’ve strengthened in pretty much every area of the pitch. Two of our new signings, Yoann Arquinn and Diallang Jaiyesim (DJ), scored on their home debuts which is promising.
Which Town players should Villa be wary of?
It’s difficult to say because the jury’s still out on our multitude of new additions, but Sessi D’Almeida looks capable of controlling the midfield, and Arquinn was our most impressive player during pre-season.
Aside from that, veteran striker Francois Zoko can still pose a threat, especially when it comes to holding the ball up and bringing others into play, and I’m also a big fan of Alefe Santos, who is capable of introducing a bit of Brazilian flair into our midfield.
What were your expectations going into the season?
Although I hate being pessimistic, I predict another season of struggle at Huish Park. We suffered from horrendously bad discipline last season, and two red cards on the opening day of this campaign would suggest that particular issue hasn’t quite been rectified. Add to that a manager who has looked increasingly out of his depth during his tenure and it’s hard to see anything other than another 19th-place finish on the cards.
If you could, which past Glovers player would you bring into the starting XI?
As limited as his managerial skills may be, Darren Way was rightfully a cult hero during his playing career at Huish Park, and I’d love to see Weasel in the middle of the park putting in one of his characteristically committed performances, full of crunching tackles and pinpoint passes.
If you were Darren Way and had to sign one Aston Villa player for Yeovil, who would it be?
I think it would have to be Jack Grealish. I’m not going to pretend for a minute that our style of football is in any way befitting of that type of player, but his ability to run past defenders as if they’re not even there and his eye for goal would be too hard to turn down.
If the Glovers went on a cup run, do you think it would help or hinder Yeovil’s league form?
That’s a really good question, especially considering last season when Yeovil reached the fourth round of the FA Cup and the semi-finals of the Checkatrade Trophy. Our progression in those two cups didn’t translate into league form, and it was frustrating at times to see those competitions seemingly prioritised over the relegation battle we were in.
Ultimately, Darren Way sees cup runs as important to bring in much-needed funds to the club. We hit the jackpot last season with our second tie against Manchester United in recent years, and Tuesday’s game against yourselves live on Sky Sports won’t go amiss.
Score prediction for Tuesday?
2-0 to Villa. Based on our previous cup encounters against higher opposition, we will probably come out of the traps quickly but then fizzle out as the game goes on. As much as I’d love a bit of cup magic, I think your class and fitness levels should see you through to the second round.
While I have the chance, on behalf of all Yeovil fans, I’d like to wish all the Villa supporters travelling down to the game a safe journey. It’s always a great occasion to have the ‘big boys’ at Huish Park, so we’re looking forward to welcoming you. Birmingham fans hate us because of a previous League Cup tie that turned sour, so we should get along just fine!