Preview: Wigan v Aston Villa (K.O: 19:45pm) #avfc

Crisis?  What crisis?  It is amazing what one match, one player and indeed one solitary goal can do for the collective fans mood.  Villa’s win against Man City has done much more than lift the club – it has given a new sense of hope.

When Villa were supposed to face Wigan originally the match (you may recall) was called off due to the lunatic weather sweeping the country.  The fixture had been eyed by most as the only source of points which were foreseeable – our form being that bad.  The match being called off perhaps saved Houllier his job – would he have been bankrolled to the tune of Darren Bent if we had been turned over here?  Only Randy Lerner knows.

However we now go into the re-arranged fixture a much more competent unit.  On the showing against Manchester City the back four, whilst makeshift, are fine defenders.  The midfield is a blend of youth, experience with the newly acquired impetus of Jean “bad fashion” Makoun.  And our strikeforce now has the crucial ingredient of goals.  The fixture against Wigan also sees the return from suspension of former Wigan striker Emile Heskey.

Heskey’s name is still spoken in hushed tones around Villa Park.  Perhaps it’s the Birmingham connection.  Maybe it’s the the years of him being the butt of pub jokes.  Nobody seems to be able to admit openly that he’s actually been performing excellently of late in a Villa shirt.  Goals have been few and far between, but then we were never getting a goalscorer.  What I had never appreciated was Heskey’s technical ability.

Yes he’s the biggest lightweight I’ve ever seen.  Yes he manages to thump the bar (Sunderland..) from all of three yards.  Yes the red cross are on constant alert to his latest injury.  But he brings others into the game superbly.  In short, he is everything we wanted from John Carew but without the ego.  

Darren Bent must be licking his lips at the prospect of playing off Emile’s hold up play.  Also the ridiculous expectation of goals from Heskey immediately shifts to Bent; this can only be healthy.  Further, whereas we know after sixty minutes Emile would be ready for bed, we only need him for the final thirty.  And that suits everyone just fine.

The match at the DW Stadium is a massive opportunity for Villa to build upon the efforts against Man City.  I hope it isn’t too soon for us and that we’re not leggy after those exertions.  With that said Wigan go into the game with no centre halves (Suspension & injury) and suffer from an all too familiar lack of goals – although Rodellega is not to be dismissed.

It also appears that for all of Roberto Martinez’s efforts the vultures are now circling for him as well.  With all of this in mind, there are few teams I’d rather face right now and it presents the perfect opportunity to push on and put any talk of relegation behind us.  Let us just hope that Villa don’t decide to play Wigan back into form.

Prediction Corner:  2-0 to Villa – Bent to get both.