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Know Your Opponent: Aston Villa

The two most disaffected fan bases in the Premier League face off against each other this weekend. We sat down with the folks at 7500 to Holte to see how things are going up in Birmingham.

Clive Rose

As a Tottenham Hotspur fan, it's sometimes easy to forget just how hard it is to be a fan of other teams. Lots of other teams have bad ownership situations, questionable managers, and crushing expectations. We are not alone. Aston Vill is one of those teams. So, I exchanged some questions with Robert Lintott of 7500 to Holte, SB Nation's Aston Villa Blog, to see what the mood is like up at Villa Park.

Cartilage Free Captain: Hey, uh....I heard you lost to Q.P.R. That had to suck, right?

7500 to Holte: /takes off microphone
/stands up calmly
/flips over chair
/walks out of interview

CFC: So, the bad news for Aston Villa is that you haven't scored a goal in your last five matches. The good news is that you get to play Spurs this weekend! How confident are you that Spurs' defensive ineptitude will outweigh the Villains' failing finishing?

7500: Not even a little bit confident! The problem lately has been that I can't even see where a goal would come from. Sure we've got Christian Benteke back, but who is going to get him the ball? Our crosses are aimless and while I had praised the midfield to high heaven earlier in the year, it turns out that Fabian Delph was the only thing holding it together. So that avenue of attack is gone.

Pretty much my only hope is Benteke getting pissed off and taking this into his own hands. And even then, I wouldn't be shocked to see Villa goalless for 621 minutes by the time this is done.

CFC: Paul Lambert continues to be in charge of Aston Villa, because reasons. As an outsider I haven't been terribly impressed with entirety of Lambert's tenure, though he has gotten some good results. How hot is his seat right now? If it's warm, is it only because Roy Keane has lit an actual fire beneath it?

7500: I can't really tell, to be honest. He was just given a four-year extension, but then again he keeps putting out the same turgid tactics match after match. So anywhere else (Newcastle excepted) his seat is as hot as the sun. But I'm not sure that a looking-to-sell Randy Lerner will spend the money necessary to terminate the contract early.

Plus we've got the fact that he has pretty shrewdly handled very limited resources. In terms of talent, this is a team that should be top half. So on one hand you've got Lambert assembling a good squad on a shoestring budget. On the other, you have him terribly misusing it.

CFC: Not that long ago, Aston Villa were Tottenham Hotspur. Villa was the club just outside the top four looking in. Then lots of shitty things happened and here we are. Spurs fans have become incredibly annoying because we finished in the top four twice and now nothing else will suffice. Do Villa fans suffer from similarly crushing delusions about their club's place in the league hierarchy?

7500: Oh god yes. We're a big club who cannot/should never fail if you listen to a lot of fans. But obviously that's not true, and we all know that tradition means precisely nothing.

But for the first time ever, I find myself agreeing with some of these folks. Like I said, this is a club that, based on talent available and how bad so many others are, should be top half. We saw in their first four matches that they could play competent football. But they are playing so ineffectively lately that I'm buckling in for another relegation scrap.

CFC: Tottenham have some problems of their own, namely not being as good as fans want/expect them to be, but they still have some dangerous players. Which Spurs player(s) are you most concerned about coming into the weekend?

7500: The goalkeeper. No, seriously. We just made Rob Green look world class. Teams average something around 1.5 goals per match (I'm typing this on a phone and can't check that so please don't be too picky) and Villa have been happy to allow that. So Tottenham will score. But if Lloris literally shows up, we're doomed.

CFC: If you were Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, how would you set up Spurs to beat Aston Villa?

7500: Sarcastic answer: put Lloris in goal and then just have fun attacking with 10 strikers.

Realistic answer: go up your left side. It's either going to be "I played once this year" Matthew Lowton or "I really should be a midfielder" Leandro Bacuna at right back. Neither is very good. And when that doesn't work, charge at Carlos Sanchez. He's looked, with the exception of the first half against QPR, totally lost thus far. He's a defensive midfielder who is as big of a liability as anyone else on this team. Overload him or the right back and the goals are yours for the taking.

CFC: Finally, what's your prediction for the weekend?

7500: Villa at home? Against Spurs? Good grief. Villa 0-2 Tottenham. Ugh.

Thanks to Robert for taking the time to answer my stupid questions. You can follow him on Twitter here and 7500 to Holte can be found here. Also, head over to their site later on today and you can see my answers to Robert's questions.