September is a pivotal month for Villa, with 3 straight derby matches. First up, a visit to the King Power Stadium to take on Leicester City. Chris, of Leicester Till I Die, was kind enough to answer a few of our questions ahead of Sunday's showdown.
Leicester took 8 points from their first four fixtures, and have yet to be beaten this season. Are you at all surprised by the strong start by the Foxes?
LTID: Not surprised but pleased. It's the complete opposite to our start last season as we have yet to play any of the top 5 yet. However had we lost and been in Sunderland's position I would have been disappointed. Undefeated and top of the table for the first three Saturday's - it has been a 'Carling' start to the season.
Before the season started, many (myself included) expected Leicester to be seriously hampered by the loss of Esteban Cambiasso. A month in, and that seems to no longer be an issue. How have the Foxes overcome the Argentinian's absence?
LTID: To be honest one man doesn't make a team. Drinkwater, who had an indifferent season last term, has stepped up to the mark and Andy King has also had a blinder. With the new signings Kante & Inler still to feature regularly, we might be saying Esteban who??
Despite the blistering start, Leicester's draw with Bournemouth just before the international break seemed to raise some questions about Claudio Ranieri's tactics. Are you pleased with the Tinkerman so far?
LTID: Up to Bournemouth yes. However the first half against Bournemouth was dire. He tinkered for the first time and it blew up in his face, but he was big enough to admit his mistake post match. Let's just hope he learns from it. Overall the jury is still out but am I happy as things stand? Yes!
As I write these questions, I'm reading a report that links Riyad Mahrez with Barcelona. He's been one of the best players in the league so far, but how did he rise to this level so quickly? Did Leicester fans know he was going to be this good over the summer?
LTID: Yes, yes and yes. He has improved season on season since joining us. Last season he was good but as with the rest of the team, was very much second to Cambiasso when it came to headlines, No African Cup this year so we will get a full season out of him as well. There is no limit as to how far this lad could go, and as Villa fans you will appreciate this, it may not be with our club.
Now that the transfer window is closed, how would you assess the club's business over the summer?
LTID: £30m worth of talent on the bench v Tottenham. Need I say more? But we have bought wisely without paying over the odds. We missed out on a few players who deemed Leicester weren't a big enough club, which I can appreciate at the moment. Huth, Inler & Okazaki are our stand out buys.
Villa fans will be all too familiar with how fast starts can be misleading. After four games last season, Villa found themselves second in the table with 10 points. We all know what happened after that. Is Leicester going through a similar phase? Will they find themselves battling relegation again, or do you think this team can maintain their form and push for a top-half finish?
LTID: To quote an overused footy saying 'it's a marathon not a sprint' like you said. I hope not, but who can tell. Leicester fans only know too well how things can change (The Peter Taylor years) and we are loving the moment. I think Ranieri is an experienced manager who can keep us away from another relegation dog fight - after all that's what he was brought in to do.
If there was one player you could snatch away from Villa's squad, who would it be?
LTID: Jack Grealish!! Defo one for the future. As with Mahrez & Leicester, you may find him moving on in the not too distant future.
Your impressions on this new look Villa squad?
LTID: Early days to be fair. You have lost a few good players, but I believe you have a good manager in Sherwood. Given the long term backing you could have a brighter future than you have been used to the past few seasons.
No question here, just tell Marc Albrighton we miss him dearly.
LTID: Haha, will do. Pearson finally burying the hatchet and playing Marc coincided with our great escape. Glad you let him go!!
Again, our many thanks to Chris! For further reading on the Foxes, head over to Leicester Till I Die to check out Chris and co's work!