Hurray, the qualifying break is over and we’re back to proper footy.
I’ll say straight away that I’m fairly confident for this one, but not overly so.
There isn’t much squad news on either side, Jota is getting over his Hernia and Chester is training for more fitness.
As for Brighton, only Bernardo and Jose Izquierdo are out.
Both sides come off the back of good wins in their last games, with Brighton surprising a few by deservedly beating Spurs 3-0, where they’ll be just as confident as us.
We look very threatening though and Dean smith has practically claimed the credit for getting Grealish more involved, although I think the simple reality is that we’ve not let Grealish go as deep, defending as he had done in our first few games.
My complaining that he should be viewed more as a number 10 and definitely not as a number 8 wasn’t rocket science on my part and I wasn’t alone in thinking it, by any means.
Sorry, but if Grealish playing close behind the main striker isn’t the favoured option, it was well known that him coming inside from the left was the next best thing.
Put it this way; I don’t think it was a tactical revelation by Smith in the slightest. It was just obvious if you want to create maximum attacking threat.
Which suited us perfectly with the way Norwich played so openly.
I do wonder if Smith will stick with Grealish in the same position, as Brighton will be more canny, but suspect he might.
Otherwise, I don’t think Smith will change much.
I’ve seen predictions of us winning 2 or even 3 nil , but while I again see goals, I think if we do win, it’ll only be by the odd goal.
I’ll go for 2-1 to us.
And then there’s the latest twist to the Tony Xia story, where he’s apparently got a £30,000 reward on his head.
It’s all a bit vague at the moment, but it seems to me that Xia set up some kind of bond in China, where people were asked to invest money, with the promise of interest, backed up by Villa getting promoted last season.
Obviously that didn’t happen and Xia hasn’t been able to keep up the payments.
This might explain why Keith Wyness called Xia a “fraud” via Twitter almost immediately after we lost in the final last season and then backed it up today by saying “Karma is a Bitch”.
The former could easily be prosecuted for defamation, I’d have thought.
I’m in speculation land here, but suspect Xia told Wyness of his plan and if the bond or whatever wasn’t 100% straight, Wyness would have had to advise that it was illegal. Xia, desperate for money then had to sack Wyness if he wanted to go through with it.
Which then left Wyness in a perfectly good position, where if he was still in his job, it would have been his duty to declare us as trading fraudulently and basically bankrupt, at best.
There’s more of this story yet to come and I find myself fascinated.
But expect Wyness to get a fat payout.