Interview With A Manchester Utd Fan
1) So how serioulsy do you think Manchester United will take the game what with the Champions League commitments?
Pretty seriously, Fergie will want to win and with the CL not until the week after, I can't see that having any impact.
2) A few injuries seem to be building up + the suspension of Nani. Which absentee will be the biggest blow to you?
Rio Ferdinand will be absent again, which is a big blow and I fear for his long-term future. Also, Anderson is extremely unfortunate to pick up an injury just when it seemed that Fergie finally forgave him.
3) How confident are you for the game, obviously your team is more used to Wembley finals but our lot are hungry for success having been starved for so long (1994 v you folks and 1996 v Leeds were our last Wembley wins, 2000 we lost to Chelsea in the FA Cup no show)
Well, one thing is sure: you can expect our strongest team out, no second string like against Spurs last season. Villa took five points off us this season in the league - had we won both games we would be top so we'll be up for revenge.
4) Who from our team do you fear the most?
Your defence and the pace of Young and Agbonlahor. Our defending is still not as good as it used to be in the past two seasons and we'll have a tough time breaking down Villa.
5) Rooney is on fire, can we arrange for him to be rested for the game do you think?! On a serious note, Man Utd do look slightly disjointed at the moment and an awful lot of pressure is on Rooney to carry the team at times. Is that right or am I way off base?
Thing is, we've been disjointed since Moscow really. Last season the extraordinary defensive toughness masked this but we were quite uninspiring. For the record, I think we're playing better football this season. Just a stat: we scored 68 league goals last season, we have 66 now with ten games to go. Rooney is brilliant but I think our squad in a whole is a tad underrated: I mean that we create chances for Rooney, it's not like he gets the ball at the halfway line, takes it through five defenders then curls one into the top corner - he's yet to score outside of the box this season. It's the defending that is really poor this season compared to the last but no surprise, Vidic and Rio barely played, Van der Sar missed months...
6) The perennial question really, how long will Sir Alex Chewalot carry on managing do you think? Surely if he beats Liverpool's title wins after equaling it last season, then he has done all he can?
No, he wants to match Bob Paisley's three European Cups. In the current financial situation that is bordering on the impossible but he wants to give it at least another go. I don't think we can do it this season so he'll stay on.
7) Anyone you fancy as the next boss?
MON has been linked to the job, Gary Linekar being the latest to say he should be the next one, but MON is 58, surely you'll be looking at a younger guy, also with the trouble with the owners and the fact walking into Fergie's shoes would surely be a poison chalice, I can't see MON being that interested (I'd not be surprised if he considered a decent international job as the last chapter of his career though)
I like the idea of Laurent Blanc - he's on the verge of taking Bordeaux to the CL quarter-finals after breaking Lyon's stranglehold on the French league. Not exactly insignificant achievements I think. But if we sort out the debt issues (a big if, I know) then nothing will save us from Mourinho. He wants to come, he's a big enough name and he wins titles everywhere.
8) Who, apart from Rooney, should Villa be fearing on Sunday?
Antonio Valencia. Not a flashy player, can't even be called creative but he's fast, strong, has a good cross and he's built a good understanding with Rooney. And there's Evra, an important attacking outlet, though he's been playing slightly within himself in recent weeks.
9) Prediction time please...!
We'll edge it 2-1, in a tight and unspectacular game.
With thanks to Zae from Vital Manchester United. Our answers will be on that site later and I'll link to them.