Boro – Villa; Squeaky bum time

What can I say that hasn’t already been said, seemingly everywhere else on the net?

Except that the whole scenario and atmosphere is building; so much so, that frankly my ring is twitching severely already.

We all know the difference between promotion or not and the latter doesn’t bear thinking about, as you have to question how we’d manage with another season in the championship.

We face a typical Pulis team that will try to take advantage of set pieces and they seemingly have Traore firing on all cylinders. We know how scary he is when running at you and if he comes back to bite us on the proverbial, I’ll probably be ranting, as I loved the look of him and could see the player in there.
Hopefully Hutton will keep him out of the game, as I suggested last week.

Team news then and Pulis has said he’ll play the same team as last week, so no surprises.

As for us, Taylor is out, as is Tuanzebe.

Johnstone should be available, but will travel seperately to the team bus, as his missus is about to give birth to their child. What will happen if the big event is due a few hours before the game, is another question.
Where will Johnstone’s loyalties lie? The biggest game he’ll have ever played in or sit and watch your first-born arriving?
That might seem a simple question to the younger among you, but I know plenty who would have put the job first when I was younger, particularly when they NEEDED to earn a crust just to pay the bills.
I doubt Johnstone will have that problem, so could probably understand if he doesn’t make the game.

So what to think?

Well, for me, it’s the away result that will decide this semi.
We need to come away with at least a draw ideally.
We might be able to pull a one goal deficit back. But if we were to go into the home leg 2 goals down, I’d really fear for our chances.

I just think that we have enough to see Boro off though, over two legs and the Pulis factor isn’t quite what some seem to make out. Remember the two consecutive cup and league games not so long back?

Yes, all the play-off contenders are scary in their own way, but I have to think we’re capable of beating them all on our day.
It just depends if the team are on it or not, as consistency is not our forte.

I’m going for a 1-1 draw, which would leave me satisfied, but wondering how we break them down at a rocking Villa park.
And it’s the home support that will be a major advantage that none of the others have.
Did I read right that boro still had a couple of thousand tickets left this morning and Pulis was practically begging the fans to turn out?
Surely not and maybe more mind games from Pulis?

I still stand by the fact that the third placed team should go up, as the league is judged over a season.
And a tournament was never part of the original idea.
I despise those that have made it this way, just for the money.

A slight aside, but my Derby mate and I have agreed that if we eventually meet up at Wembley, we’re going together to make a weekend of it, with one of us laughing and the other crying.

Unfortunately, I don’t see Derby having a hope in hell, but I’m off to watch the game as we speak.


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  1. nath
    nath May 12, 2018 at 8:29 pm .

    if villa had not qualified for playoffs this site would have been buzzing with criticism and abuse for manager and players like hutton. but cause we managed to qualify they waiting in the wings to spring their abuse hopefully boro or the winners of the other semi can knock us out and this will prove me right. we are still alive 2 games away from premiership and nobody us happy what will it take, perfect football most would answer but no of them know that if it hit them in their faces.

  2. nath
    nath May 12, 2018 at 8:55 pm .

    i wonder why the players went so deep second half. who knows the answer to this conundrum. the manager says he was disappointed also when we went so deep. this happens often in football a different 2nd half to the first half. must have been the managers fault the players always listen to managers tactics and follow them word for word dont they. they cant think for themselves like i have said before.

    1. nath
      nath May 12, 2018 at 8:56 pm .

      i bet bill could answer that for me 🙂 please.

  3. VillaAwayinDiv3
    VillaAwayinDiv3 May 13, 2018 at 1:03 am .

    Like I said earlier before being told to shut up…why cant the touchline team pass on a message if they see it happening.

  4. nath
    nath May 13, 2018 at 9:21 am .

    my jerry stringer final thoughts lmao

    second half boro had been instructed to engage villa more in our half. more pressing they are a pulis team. so they were going to go direct at every given chance. they also had maybe the fastest player on the field. one thing you never give a fast player is space to run into. you add up this and villa players all marshalled themselves deeper and deeper. no matter what they were instructed at h/t ,or no matter what the staff were shouting from the sidelines.

    villa were probably told to carry on same as the first half. but they were under much more boro pressure. we couldn’t break like we did the first half in the same numbers, without over committing at the back. one of our players was always shadowing traore. but saying that sometimes he was surrounded by three players. all denying him space to attack.

    i thought first half we were the better team. second half for all boro dominance they very rarely worried jonstone. when they managed to see the goalies whites of his eye they wasted the chances blasting wide. i was pleased with the contribution of the villa players they showed they will not allow this opportunity to slip away. i expect second leg villa to be more on the front leg and will score 1 or 2 goals meaning boro will have to score 3 or 4 which wont happen. they will commit more players forward the more the clock ticks down. we will be more set up to break them down.

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