This is a funny game to preview. Funny in the sense that we Villa fans have shifted from being on suicide watch, to wild optimism in a matter of days. It’s also funny, that whilst everyone is desperate to win the FA Cup, the win in the league feels the bigger achievement.
Maybe my above feeling is due to the dumbing down of the competition or the fact that we have been so bad, for so long in the league, I am actually looking forward to this weekend as a bit of a breather.
With that said, it represents an opportunity to completely change the mood in the club. Win again, a trip to Wembley, out of the relegation zone & indisputable bragging rights over minnow neighbours West Brom? Sherwood and the club could well use the opportunity to bank goodwill. As fans, we would take all of this with open arms.
The only certain absentee from the team that won Tuesday is Hutton. Suspended for the booking picked up following the clash with Berahino. Hutton’s absence will be felt by Villa, he has been excellent since his reintroduction to the fold. On the other hand, he would likely have only been a target on and off the pitch, so this could perhaps be a blessing in disguise.
Villa need only repeat what they did in the first half, be more clinical and use the lift achieved having won Tuesday night. There can be little argument that we were the more adventurous, more composed and overall better side.
As I’ve said in my match review and on Twitter, the Albion fans must now accept that Pulis will do no more than what he has achieved. You will be hoofball merchants. It is inevitable. This will guarantee you Premier League fixtures for an eternity, but you will have to endure the kind of argricultural display you put out this week, and accept it as the norm.
Vlaar, Cissokho & Richardson are likely to be available for the game, so there may be room for rotation, but given the success of the 11 that started midweek, expect similar from Sherwood. With that said, he has thrown surprises our way in both team selection and substitutions & it’s reasonable to guess that Sinclair, Bacuna or Wiemann may obtain an opportunity to impress.
For Albion, Anichebe remains out & there will surely be questions around the fitness of both Berahino & Brown. The latter two were next to useless midweek & will surely prompt a review from Pulis.
Whilst trying to temper over-confidence, with a full house at Villa Park, again under the lights, I feel we will have enough to see the job through.
Predictions: 2-0 to Villa.