Middlesbrough – Villa; FA cup round 3

If I say to you that Villa haven’t won a third round FA tie in eight years and that no club has been in the top two divisions and lost nine ties on the trot, I’ll bet that I know exactly what you’re thinking.
“We’re just the club to re-write that record”
And I’d agree with you.

I’m sure we all remember the defeat to Stevenage, because it seemed to set yet another low in what was a bad time. It wasn’t Gerrard in charge at the time though. It was actually Emery, who was finding his feet and all about the players.
I like the way Emery does his interviews because I find them intriguing. He has a knack of being informative while saying absolutely nothing at all.
He talked about the game in an interview with Birmingham Live and I thought it was quite revealing in a couple of areas. I’m sure many of you will have already read it, but I’ll put the link up anyway;


The first point is;

“When we were speaking about the respect for this competition, it is not really showing it with the starting XI players”

Now, he does go on to say that he may or he may not, but I take that as a strong hint that he probably will change at least a couple of players. Not so much for rest, but most likely just tactically.

And then he went on to talk about the transfer window. I’m not shortening this, because I think it’s quite illuminating;

“I am thinking not a lot about it because maybe one or two players could leave, maybe but it’s not clear. If we are trying to get someone it is really because we are very convinced he is going to increase our level in the squad. It is not very clear in the January window to get it.”

Which left me a bit disappointed as I thought that made it pretty obvious that we can expect one, maybe two at most and even then, probably loans, which have never seemed a very successful idea to me.
Which then begs all sorts of questions such as if we’re not going to push the boat out in the window, how serious will we take the FA cup, when we’ll need to conserve as much energy as possible for the league?

I could quite easily be trying to over-analyse things and knowing Emery, he’s probably just taking things one game at a time. That said, I’m not convinced he cares too much for the FA cup, as much as he tries to talk it up. Which brings us on to the game.

Squad news and Emery said it himself;
(long termers apart) “Pau is also not available, nor Lucas Digne, Bertrand Traoré or Youri Tielemans.”
Pau’s obviously a big miss, but the good news is we have Kamara back after his suspension and he should be well rested. Matty Cash was seemingly suffering from illness, but it’s all a bit vague and the manager has said everybody else is available.

As for Boro, the big news for us is that Finn Azaz will be available after his £2.5 million move to the club mid-week, though it’s most likely he’ll be on the bench.
Paddy McNair, Matt Crooks, Marcus Forss, and Darragh Lenihan are all out, but Hayden Hackney, Matt Crooks and Emmanuel Latte Lath have all returned to training this week, so could feature.

Middlesbrough sit twelfth in the Championship, but they’re only 4 points off the play-off places, so they already have plenty to think about. There’s also the little matter of a Carabou cup quarter final game against Chelsea midweek. Hence there’s been talk that Michael Carrick might change his team up in a major way for today’s game. Certainly, it seems to me that we should prove a tougher game than facing Chelsea, but I am of course biased.

I watched Boro’s game against Coventry the other night to try and weigh up the opposition, or at least the first half, as I became bored and switched to another game. Suffice to say, that I didn’t see much to worry about. Coventry went on to win 3-1 after falling behind and looked good for it from what I saw.
Boro just look like your typical midtable Championship side, that work hard and have a few decent players. In other words, well capable of beating Aston Villa, if recent history is anything to go by.

Yet I don’t see a problem.
Of course, nuch depends on what sort of side we field. But if it’s anywhere near a full strength side, I feel we’ll have enough to see them off reasonably comfortably, particularly as I see this game being less of a priority for them.

I’m going for a 2-1 win.
What we could really do without is a draw, but the doubting Thomas in me thinks that’s also a good possibility.
Nah, I’m sticking with the win.



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  1. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson January 8, 2024 at 8:01 pm . Reply

    Chelsea it is in the draw lads away

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 January 8, 2024 at 8:09 pm . Reply

      Yet another ‘lucky’ draw for us!

  2. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum January 8, 2024 at 8:29 pm . Reply

    We’ll do ’em!!!!

  3. 1874 was a good year
    1874 was a good year January 9, 2024 at 10:47 am . Reply

    From the Guardian – ‘Al-Ettifaq are struggling in the Saudi Pro League with the club sitting 28 points off of the leaders in eighth place and patience towards Steven Gerrard is waning.’
    It seems that Henderson wants to jump ship now. Just wondering where we’d be if we’d stuck with Gerrard? A relegation scrap I’d guess…in the Championship!
    Thank God we’ve got Unai…

  4. Sidforever
    Sidforever January 9, 2024 at 7:54 pm . Reply

    Great news breaking.

    Villa have teamed up with Adidas to be our kit supplier from next year, in a multi million pound a year deal.

    I wondered whether Sawiris 7% stake in Adidas would at some stage become important and now is the time. With Villa flying high and with Heck tying up this commercial deal we are starting to gain economies of scale. Each deal like this means increased headroom to improve the team whilst meeting the changing nature of FFP.

    Nice one Villa.

    1. BFR
      BFR January 9, 2024 at 8:06 pm . Reply

      Great news. Will Adidas pay for a new stand?
      Honestly though, brilliant news. I’m even contemplating having my pants pulled down for some quality Adidas Villa gear this summer. And for my boys. And the wife… 👏

      Build a new North Stand.

      1. OLL again
        OLL again January 9, 2024 at 10:39 pm . Reply

        Regrettably? This site does not allow pictures BFR. The prospect of you flashing on here your new claret and blue underpants with the 3 stripes down the side is intriguing. Beware though, of buying underpants in the away strip: the wife may ask where you intend to wear them.

  5. OLL again
    OLL again January 9, 2024 at 10:49 pm . Reply

    Like Sid, I was surprised Villa weren’t immediately pushed towards Adidas as soon as the shirt deal was up for grabs. I suspect Adidas take the view some of their EPL teams won’t be in the Champions league next season on current form so I am sure Villa riding high was a factor, and of course Villa had a unfit for purpose get out from the Castore Oil look contract.

  6. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum January 10, 2024 at 9:24 am . Reply

    The Adidas deal is great news. If Gerrard was still in charge we’d be looking at wearing Dunlop Green Flash next season…
    Nice win for Boro last night. Looks like we did well to beat them! It should only be 2 legs if the first game was a draw. Boro should be through, Chels$ea out.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 January 10, 2024 at 2:09 pm . Reply

      NS owns 6% of Adidas which at its current capitalised value amounts to £1.5bn – reported as being his largest single investment.

      Not bad eh!

      1. Bum Bum
        Bum Bum January 10, 2024 at 2:27 pm . Reply

        Pah! Chicken feed!!!!

        Ever wondered why a super rich person doesn’t just come up to you and say “Would you like £500,000′?

        1. Hitchens60
          Hitchens60 January 10, 2024 at 3:28 pm . Reply

          Because if they did they wouldn’t be rich anymore!

          Although it seems to me, as a Villa fan, that’s exactly what they’ve done.

          UTM NSWE 🙂

  7. little8
    little8 January 10, 2024 at 5:51 pm . Reply

    Brilliant news look forward to us wearing Adidas be interesting to see how they incorporate the stripes into the claret and blue though

  8. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson January 10, 2024 at 7:39 pm . Reply

    Isn’t it a fact the higher you are in he league the better sport promoted business come to you . Great news that looking forward to seeing its brand on a Villa top .

  9. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 January 10, 2024 at 10:36 pm . Reply

    Will Villa sign Dybala?

    Canadian Pete makes a good case.

    Dybala at 31 is an experienced striker that can play in a number of roles and would be an ideal back up to Watkins or variation from the bench. Canadian Pete points out that he’s an Argentinian World Cup winner and compatriot of Emi Martinez. He plays for Roma and Monchi has good relationships with the club – and his release clause (which is valid until 15th January ) is a mere £10m.

    We’ll know soon enough!

    1. 1874 was a good year
      1874 was a good year January 11, 2024 at 1:46 am . Reply

      Watched him play in the derby with Lazio on Tuesday and he wasn’t bad. However, as in other games I’ve seen, Mourinho pulled him after an hour or so. Just wondering if he’s got the legs these days.
      As for the World Cup he played a grand total of 17 minutes but, to be fair, he did score one of the penalties in the final.
      If Emery thinks that he can get a tune out of him, and there is undoubtedly talent there, then I’d be all for it. However, I think that someone like Jonathan David of Lille, at just 22, might be a more realistic shout and a better investment for the future.

  10. Holte
    Holte January 11, 2024 at 8:47 am . Reply

    I wish they would scrap the January transfer window or minimise it to two weeks. That would force clubs to have a decent size squad for the start of the season. The constant click bait is becoming tedious and can only unsettle players.
    As for Adidas becoming our kit sponsor, I’m happy in terms of training wear and things like jackets and hoodies but not sure it would be a good look for our home shirt in particular. If you look at Fulham’s home shirt, I can imagine something like our current shirt with 3 stripes on the shoulders, which isn’t too good IMO. Maybe they will be a bit more creative!

  11. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 January 12, 2024 at 12:44 pm . Reply

    Emery voted manager of the month for December.

    Congratulations Unai – well deserved

    1. 1874 was a good year
      1874 was a good year January 12, 2024 at 3:12 pm . Reply

      It’s about time Unai got this award. Well done!
      Also worth noting that Solanke won best player. Who would have thought last season that the top form team (last 8 games) would be Bournemouth with Villa in 3rd?
      I find it all quite refreshing.

    2. DSVilla
      DSVilla January 12, 2024 at 5:53 pm . Reply

      We will lose to Everton then if that award does its usual trick😢

  12. Badger123
    Badger123 January 12, 2024 at 3:07 pm . Reply

    Totally agreed Hitch.
    It’s interesting that he’s got it even though the record isn’t perfect. I suppose the wins over Man City and Arsenal clinched it.
    Let’s hope it doesn’t jinx things.

  13. Gerry
    Gerry January 12, 2024 at 9:25 pm . Reply

    Absolute shite being posted tonight that Unai winning (correct and right) manager of the month will dictate the result of Sundays game. We will beat Everton because our team is better. Now if God thinks otherwise we will not but God is not stupid and we will. Amen and hallelujah and other suitable stuff.

    1. Third Generation Villian
      Third Generation Villian January 13, 2024 at 7:47 am . Reply

      Totally agree Gerry, since Unai has been in charge i have lost the eternal pessimism of the past and now believe we will win every game.
      and have total faith in all decisions he makes if we dont buy anyone in Jan or if we do i trust in him getting us back to the top hopefully this year if not in the next couple of years.

  14. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum January 13, 2024 at 9:18 am . Reply

    There are a couple of articles in the Mail today about us having to be careful over FFP. The Mail obviously run with a ‘Villa to sell key players’ type headline suggesting Luiz or Kamara could be sold for £100m each. (On a side note, how xxxxing disgusting is football getting when players are bought and sold for this amount of cash).
    The first comment, that doesn’t seem to be from a Villa fan, sums it up perfectly asking why Chelsea can get away with spending nearly a billion quid, and are after a top drawer striker this month. It is so corrupt. The government should look at the Sky 6 and their monopoly.
    How is a club like Villa, or even Newcastle, meant to get in the ‘Top 4’ and then actively compete in the Champions League with a smaller squad because we’re not allowed to invest like Citeh etc…Will Citeh ever be found guilty and punished like Everton have been? At least the Scottish FA had the balls to send Rangers down a few leagues when they were caught.

    Anyway, onto a brighter note, Villa to win 2-1 tomorrow. Ollie to score both!!!!

    Happy New Year Villians!!!

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