Flashback 1992-93: Villa close on leaders after QPR win
Paper: Sunday Mercury
Aston Villa captain Kevin Richardson last night fired a warning to the rest of the Premier League: "We can beat the lot of you."
Richardson leads his team into this afternoon's big TV match against high-flying Queen's Park Rangers firmly believing Villa are on their way to the top.
Confidence is sky-high after Wednesday's Coca-Cola Cup victory over Manchester United stretched their unbeaten run to ten games.
Now Villa aim to maintain their impressive form with a win over QPR which will take them above the Londoners to third place in the table.
Richardson said: "We are going into every game convinced we are going to win.
"QPR won't worry us - we've not even talked about them yet."
Aston Villa, who won only three points from their first four games, have moved into third place in the Premier League after one third of a most satisfying season so far for Ron Atkinson's team.
In August Mr Atkinson - no doubt tongue in cheek - said Villa "were a million miles from being a good side."
Last week he reduced that distance to a mere half-a-million miles but Villa cannot be discounted from winning the first Premier League championship, having collected 18 points from their last eight games.
Yesterday, Rangers must have felt a little unfortunate not to have got something from a generally entertaining match.
Rangers may have lost the game but they won the style award for their mesmerising one-touch football and deserve credit for their positive approach.
Their downfall was that their finishing did not match their build-up play.
Villa won because of two defensive errors by the visitors - one professional and one of the human variety.
It was ironic that a game which contained so much ball to feet football should see a "route one" goal break the deadlock.
Nigel Spink's long clearance was flicked on by Dalian Atkinson, who beat Darren Peacock.
Unmarked Dean Saunders anticipated where the ball would go and ran into the space as Alan MacDonald and Tony Roberts raced to clear.
Saunders scored his eighth goal for Villa with a left-foot strike.
Villa's second goal came in the 79th minute when Peacock slipped near the byline as he attempted to clear Steve Staunton's through-pass.
Atkinson took advantage of the situation and, after advancing 20 yards, scored his ninth goal of the season with a shot that went through the legs of Roberts.
Dean Saunders provided the spark which launched Aston Villa's title challenge into orbit as his incredible goalscoring streak continued to light up the skies above Villa Park.
The £2.3m striker's eighth goal in ten games, coupled with a second from his partner Dalian Atkinson, lifted Ron Atkinson's expensively-assembled side above QPR into third place - their highest placing in a season of growing anticipation.
Saunders's goals are working like a Championship charm.
They have come in five games since his move from Liverpool and Villa have won them all.
Their victory over Rangers extended their unbeaten run to eleven games and with only Blackburn and Norwich three points ahead of them at the top, their sights are being raised even higher.
With Saunders and Atkinson, who scored his ninth of the season, firing with the lethal impact of a double-barrelled shotgun, nothing appears beyond Villa's reach.
Manager Atkinson said: "I thought QPR were having the better of the first half until Deano did what he's good at - scoring a goal when there is not really anything on.
"He's infectious, brilliant. I bet he didn't even look up to see the goalkeeper coming at him and a defender closing in ready to clatter him when he scored.
"All he would have been aware of was the ball and the net."
Paper: Birmingham Post
Much more of this and even the reluctant Ron Atkinson will be forced to concede that Aston Villa are good enough to win the title.
An eleventh game undefeated,a fourth win in the last six league games and Villa are up to third - their highest placing since Graham Taylor's side finished second two and a half years ago.
If they defeat Manchester United for a second time in ten days on Saturday the lid Atkinson has tried to keep on Villa's bubbling season will blow off in his face.
What might be worse news for the rest of the league is that there is more to come.
Although Dean Saunders and his front-running partner Dean Atkinson both claimed goals again to take their joint tally to seventeen with barely a quarter of the season gone, manager Atkinson believes there is more to come.
"Dean Saunders is brilliant," Atkinson said. "He is simply the best striker in the league for my money but I believe there is an awful lot more to come from Dalian."
Make sure you're here to roar on the lads against Manchester United.
Adobe Flash Plug-in Needed
This website requires a Adobe Flash plug-in. Please download the latest version of the Flash plug-in by clicking here