League Cup First Round Preview: Colchester United vs. Aston Villa

Colchester United vs Aston Villa League Cup 2017

League Cup – First Round

Colchester vs Aston Villa – Match Preview

Ah, the first midweek fixture of the new campaign and against a side we’ve faced just three times in our history (always in this competition).

An unfamiliar opponent adds a little extra interest to a competition maligned by many for it’s lack of stature, whilst to others it can also be seen as a needless “distraction” from league priorities.

The Villa Underground takes the view that the cup is a great springboard for getting early season momentum and a winning habit.

A Cup run can also galvanise a team and football club with a sense of purpose and reward.  As a casual observer, you need look no further for the evidence of this than Jose Mourinho: he sits on a mantle alongside Ferguson and Clough with four League Cup victories.

Closer to home the 2015 FA Cup run under Tim Sherwood contributed to an upturn in form that saw an all but certain relegation avoided.

DE JA VU

Whilst this season’s number 1 priority is naturally promotion, a premature exit to League 2 opposition would hardly set the right tone.

Irrelevant of what you think of Bruce, under his stewardship Villa have yet to adopt a clear style of play or establish a winning mentality.

Certainly, it’s too early to judge upon a mere 90 minutes following Saturday’s draw with Hull, but Dr Tony Xia will no doubt be keeping a close eye on progress as he looks to avoid repeating mistakes from a year ago.

Indeed, Roberto Di Matteo’s shortcomings were laid bare at this juncture last term, with a woeful loss away at Luton Town.

Given the investment, rhetoric and stated intent since that dismal defeat – anything less than professional job from Steve Bruce’s Villa side is, surely, unthinkable?

Villa are in a luxurious position compared to the Luton defeat, but we absolutely mustn’t treat this as a throwaway encounter.

After a pre-season of head scratching games, coupled to an underperformance against Hull at Villa Park, there is definitely an unease.

It’s time to begin to banish such uncertainties, kick of the season with a Cup win & carry this through to an important away fixture in Cardiff this weekend.

KEY FACTS

  • Colchester (League 2) lost their opening game 3-1 away to Accrington Stanley.
  • Villa have not won an away cup fixture since 2012.
  • Villa lost 3-1 to Luton Town of League 2 in the opening round last season.
  • Hosts have won 11 of last 15 at home – losing just 2 in the same period.
  • Colchester average 2+ goals per game at home over last 15.
  • 4th meeting between the sides – last time in 1979.
  • Have only faced each other in The League Cup.
  • Bruce has not lost a 1st round tie since 2000 (Huddersfield).
  • Widely reported that Villa will rotate the squad significantly (*Gulp).