Blog: Confident Houllier - Fab front four can keep Villa up
25th Feb 2013
This, after all, was the man who worked with Michael Owen, Emile Heskey, Nicolas Anelka, Karim Benzema and Robbie Fowler in a long and distinguished managerial career.
So when our former boss assessed Villa's attacking expertise at The Emirates in his role of summariser with French station Canal Plus, he spoke with some authority on the subject.
He was impressed with former starlet defenders Nathan Baker and Ciaran Clark, midfielders Ashley Westwood and Fabian Delph but he reserved special praise for the team's swashbuckling swarm of forwards.
Houllier, who bossed Villa in the 2010-11 term, is adamant the quartet can keep Villa in the Barclays Premier League, if they continue where they left off against the Gunners.
"Honestly, Villa deserved a draw at Arsenal - minimum!" said Houllier.
"I was very impressed with the offensive side of the team.
"The team were superb offensively and created more problems for Arsenal than Arsenal did with Villa.
"Andreas scored a brilliant goal. I thought it would be a draw, which would have been a fair result. They are unlucky at the moment.
"Paul Lambert must lean on the positives of what he has seen. That type of performance will help the team stay up.
"I like Villa's game. The young players are doing well. I was pleased to see Nathan Baker, Ciaran Clark and Brad Guzan playing. And I believe Fabian Delph is gradually stepping up. It's good for the future.
"But I tell you the four up front can really cause havoc in any defence!
"I was very impressed with the four up front. I know all about Charles. Take into account that Christian probably didn't have his best game but you know what he's capable of. You have to use that."
Now it's on to Manchester City for Villa as they look to put one over on the champions, just as they did when Houllier was in charge as new signing Darren Bent bagged the only goal.
While some may worry about the arrival of the men from the Etihad, Houllier bristled at suggestions Villa should be anxious in any way.
I remember when he took us to task once when his side were ready to face high-flying Tottenham in his third league game in charge.
"You make them out to be monsters," he told the club's in-house television channel at the time.
He had the same mentality when it was suggested this weekend that Roberto Mancini's men would offer a difficult test for the men in claret and blue on Monday.
"It will be difficult for Manchester City too! Don't lose sight of that! You have to believe in what you have."
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