In the run up to tonight's game we spoke to Kirsten Schlewitz from Villa blog 7500 To Holte about how she's viewed her team's season and what she makes of Reading.
How would you sum up the season so far?
About as expected. Some fans may have had unrealistic expectations of the miracles Paul Lambert would wrought, but I think most of us knew it would take awhile for he and the squad to gel. If you take a look at who's starting for the Villa, it's almost an entirely new squad. The back line is entirely different (thank goodness), the midfield is much more attacking, and we certainly weren't playing three at the front last year. It's a young squad and Lambert's project is taking time, but I think we're seeing how it's going to play out, and it's exciting.
Has Paul Lambert made the impact you expected?
Over the last few matches, yes. That's hard to believe considering we've picked up just a point, but we had to face both Manchesters and Arsenal. Lambert has finally seemed to settle on his attack, and it's coming together. I think once we play some less intimidating competition, we'll really see the fruits of Paul's labor.
Randy Lerner came in a few years ago and looked to be prepared to bankroll some big signings, these days money seems a lot tighter at Villa Park, how are feelings towards the ownership right now?
There are a few crazies going about proclaiming "Lerner Out" and using handles like "Lerners Lost It." But as for the majority of supporters, I think we're still behind Lerner. He's still cleaning up the mess left from Martin O'Neill's freewheeling spending days. Lerner showed he'll pony up the money when Villa are in a tight spot, a la Darren Bent, and I think he'll be good for a few bucks come January. But the tide will definitely turn if Lambert has no money to use in the winter.
How have you viewed Reading so far this season?
As a threat. Anyone below us in the table is a threat. Reading have scored a surprisingly high number of goals considering their place in the table, and we'll certainly be fretting about that for this match, especially considering our makeshift defense.
Any fond memories of meetings between the two sides?
Haha, yes. I remember watching the FA Cup quarterfinals back in 2010, at a pub in London. Shane Long scored twice and I was none too pleased, so I decided to take a quick breather. When I'd returned, John Carew had just scored Villa's second, to equalize. And then he went on to score a hat-trick and take us into the semi-finals! Yeah...that's probably not such a good memory for y'all.
Any not so fond ones?
Um...not to my recollection.
Anyone Reading should be wary of?
Christian Benteke, if Lambert doesn't decide Bent needs showcasing. He's got the ability to be both a poacher and a creator and he can certainly stir up trouble.
I don't like to do scores because I always feel I'll jinx my side. So let's go 2-2.
Where do you think both sides will end up?
Safety for both...but I think you guys will just barely make it ;)
Thanks again to Kirsten and you can follow the guys over on twitter @7500toHolte