After the Lord Mayor’s Show…
Following Wednesday’s epic encounter with Chelski we welcome on Sunday afternoon another set of former European Champions – this one also beat Bayern Munich in the final but were a lot less spawny than our charmless midweek visitors.
Aston Villa’s fall into the Championship at the end of last season was followed initially by a grim start to this campaign but things have improved since Roberto Di Matteo (Chelsea’s Champions League winning manager coincidentally) was replaced by Steve Bruce in October and they now lie 12th in the table having gained 7 wins from 14 games since Mrs D took charge. They’ve won 2 away games this season and have scored 7 goals in 13 matches away from Villa Park.
Familiar names in the Villa side include James Chester, Mile Jedinak, Jordan Ayew, Gaby Agbonlahor and Alan Hutton, once of this parish and League Cup winner of course. £11m signing Jonathan Kodjia is their top goalscorer with 9.
Whether or not all of these will play is debatable as Villa’s principal goal this season will be to try and get into the play-offs and next week they have a local(ish) derby at Molineux to deal with. They may play a bit of a weakened team, as we surely will also.
Janssen, Trippier, Davies, Sissoko, Onomah, Winks, Wimmer, Carter-Vickers, NKoudou, Vorm Son, Carroll. Twelve names to savour. The majority of our side will almost certainly be made up from this group. Poch would be foolish to think that we can make eleven changes without affecting our chances of going through as after all, Villa have been showing good form and have a decent manager. We can expect them to be well organised and be cheered on by some raucous support.
Ideally Lamela will be available to join in at some point, I would also suspect that Eriksen, Alderweireld, Dier, Wanyama and Alli at least will be around to either help from the bench or from the start.
A straightforward win followed by another good home draw in the next round would be the dream scenario, it’s unlikely that things will fall that easily into place but you never know.
It’s the second ‘free’ cup game on the home season ticket so there should be a good turnout.
Mike Dean is the ref, so expect the unexpected from the man in black/yellow/blue/green.
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