Preview: Villa vs. Wycombe – FA Cup 3rd Round *REPLAY* – #avfc #chairboys

A cold night at Villa Park beckons.  An extra fixture at a time where we are pondering an unthinkable (improbable) escape from the depths of the foot of the Premier League table isn’t desirable.  Indeed, the prospect of a Fourth round tie against Man City appeals more for the visitors than it does ourselves.

Preview: Aston Villa vs. Wycombe Wanderers (FA Cup 3rd Round Replay) – Kick Off: 19:45pm)

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A great deal has happened since our abject display in the 1-1 draw at Wycombe.  After being on the end of increasing anger from fans, the players and coaching staff appear to have shook themselves awake.

A decent performance against Crystal Palace yielded our first win in the league since August.  Palace were poor, but we were much, much better.  Key to this was that Garde isn’t afraid to chop and change under-performers, of which we have a few.  Kozak, Bunn and Cissokho are now being giving their chance and appear to have improved us.

This has been backed up with a solid display against Leicester.  Indeed, it was a refreshing feeling to walk away from a match wondering quite how we’d only managed a draw.

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So a great deal depends upon Garde’s desire to persevere or risk the first 11 that has started both previous fixtures.  Personally, risking the likes of Ayew seems crazy, but arguably we haven’t got a great deal to lose.

This may be an opportunity for a little rotation, Richards benched since his return from injury may get a run for fitness.  The combination of Gestede and Kozak looked a handful and might get an outing.  It isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that we could see some fringe players from the development squad getting some match time as Garde looks to identify peripheral youth worth keeping in the squad for next season.

One thing is for sure, a weak disinterested defeat would neither be appreciated by those who choose to come tonight or improve an already concerning win ration for the new boss.  I therefore expect a strong side, but then you just never know.

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Wycombe, despite holding us to a draw, lost away to Hartlepool at the weekend.  Hartlepool remain just above the League Two relegation zone.  Factoring in the “magic of the cup” [yawn] and a large away following, I’m sure the night will not be without its scares, but surely Villa will have enough to progress.

Predictions:

Aston Villa (2) vs (0) Wycombe 

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