Millwall – Villa; The big one! well, maybe not.

I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping that this game was going to be a nail-biter; the game that ultimately decided if we were going to be promoted, if we weren’t already.
But it’s proved not to be and it’s all a bit of an anti-climax really, isn’t it?

There’s been much talk about who might be coming into the team, to get a few minutes to try and stake a claim in the play-offs, but given that tomorrow’s result affects precisely nothing, for me it’s all about playing safe and reducing the possibility of injuries.
So who do I think should or more importantly, shouldn’t play?

Well, the result doesn’t matter a jot to me, so Steve Bruce has some rein to swap things up.
Let’s clarify the new weakened teams ruling;

“For any league match played on or after the fourth Thursday in March, any team sheet for a league game should include at least 10 outfield players who featured on the team sheet for the league match before.”

So given that a team sheet is 18 players, we could rest 9, including Johnstone.
Will that happen?
Not a chance under Steve Bruce, in my opinion.
Although Colin Calderwood has said that the priority will be protecting players, there will be too many itching to play this game.
There’s no way Johnstone needs a rest, for example.
Grabban will surely want a chance for the Golden boot.
Terry just wants to play and Chester is going for an ever-present (a superb achievement these days).
I just don’t see anyone wanting a rest.
Which is great really, especially compared to a couple of seasons back, where it seemed players were happier hiding.

Hutton should be rested, simple.
I know Taylor is injured, but Hutton will be instrumental against Boro, especially if Traore plays. In what’s likely to be a physical game against Millwall, I don’t think I’d risk him.

Grealish is definitely rested. We need to keep him fit and there’s absolutely no point in risking him in a nothing game.

I’d rest Snodgrass too, as although he’s still doing well for us, he’s struck me as looking a touch jaded lately.

Then it’s a question of Adomah and Kodjia.
Kodjia plays, as he still needs to get fully up to speed, whereas I think we could afford to rest Adomah.

It’s in midfield where we have most options and there’s no reason Lansbury can’t start alongside Hourihane.

Of course, I’ve ripped a large part out of the team there.
We have no proper LB replacement, no creativity in the middle and are weakened in right-wing attack with what I’m suggesting.
And it’s not very often that I’d suggest we play a severely weakened team, but I think we’d be justified on this occasion.
It’s not like when Huddersfield gave Birmingham a free survival pass last season, after all.

And then we have to ask who would be available from the U-23’s after a tough game on Friday (well done lads, silverware is silverware, simple), although that might be a moot point.
Young lads coming off the back of a cup win? Who wouldn’t want to play?

It’s all up to the management and how they see things, I suppose, but whereas Bruce normally likes to go with his favourite eleven or so, so I just don’t see it happening for this game.

Which makes the game hard to predict.
We have a poor record at Millwall and I think it’ll be a draw at best.

As for Steve Bruce, Jesus, I’m so sorry mate.
To lose one of your parents is bad enough.
But to lose both in a couple of months must be awful.
Sincere condolences.

72 Comments

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  1. nath May 6, 2018 at 6:39 pm . Reply

    well today match could have been a real headache. i havent heard of us suffering any injury. we played ok and rested most of the team, 2nd string players got a good hour of fitness, in case they are needed in playoffs. onomah bree hogan and lansbury all got a good run out,

    kodjia is looking much stronger and can’t really be that far away from peak condition. even if he won’t be firing on all cylinders this season, he could well be the difference you never know. i didn’t think he would be back this season at all. bruce should be congratulated and his staff for getting kodjia ready for the playoffs in any capacity

  2. nath May 6, 2018 at 6:52 pm . Reply

    also bill i did predict brum beating fulham. i had a 5 fold bet. i also predicted burton to win away that let me down, i had villa to lose. i had cardiff to win and derby to win

  3. Bill Pearson May 6, 2018 at 7:16 pm . Reply

    I never bet Nath and It was a foregone conclusion the Villa would loose that game. I have to say I didn’t think the blues would beat Fulham, today a lot of teams that normally win, didn’t , its what football all about, so back to the post that bamboozled you, all game as from today will a cup game because so much depends on the club. Nobody can say the likes of Middlborogh, Fulham, Derby, are favourite to win , my take it will be our club that turns up on the day.

    1. nath May 6, 2018 at 7:44 pm . Reply

      i gamble for enjoyment. i know its never for gone conclusion. but you get a feeling and when its strong you should always go with it. i fancied brum beating fulham. i also thought sunderland but i changed my mind thinking they will want to break 100 points. i went with cardiff which i would have beat my house and my better half on and they only managed to draw. i got great odds and only beat a pound on it. because its for fun. if my selections would have all won it would have been a nice tonne for 5 selections not bad

      for the playoffs i don’t get where you say i think fulham middlesbrough. i have said ages ago we will be going up and i started the season saying top two. after our poor start i said playoffs either way i am reasonably confident we will be premiership nbext season.

      middlesbrough will be tough and who ever win between us and them will win the playoffs in MY OPINIONS. they will be very negative against us. which is why they will cause us problems. we are vulnerable to the counter attack. we don’t have pace at the back and we know they have players that are lighting quick.

      we have top players and they will hopefully be firing on all cylinders at wembley. i think the toughie will be getting there past bro

  4. Bill Pearson May 6, 2018 at 8:23 pm . Reply

    We’ll do it Nath, you obviously watched the game today where I didn’t , it was mainly for the club to get players up and running and game time, not been a good week for me this week with one thing and another, just hope I get into the swing of things come next weekend. I fancy us to do it.

    1. nath May 6, 2018 at 8:36 pm . Reply

      we are there and we are one of four teams left with a chance. that has to be good enough for now. i see villa fans moaning we have to go to playoffs. but that is becaus we blew our auto chances. cardiff deserve 2nd because they have been thereabouts all season. were us and fulham haven’t. even derby could argue that they have been top end most season. fulham had come with a strong finish, but i knew that would be too late. derby could even take them out over their two legs. because having been on their good run and missing out like they have, i would expect them to have a hang over.

      which teams are home first legs. this makes a massive difference

      1. originallondonlion May 6, 2018 at 8:59 pm . Reply

        The higher-placed teams get the second leg at home.

        1. nath May 6, 2018 at 9:10 pm . Reply

          i fancy us at home against any championship side. if we are in the lead coming the 2nd leg, we won’t need to over commit at home. that is the main way bro will attack us. that and corners throw ins and freekicks. they will have 8 defenders deep without the ball and rely on traore speed to break. unless pulis has a new way we haven;t seen before

  5. nath May 7, 2018 at 11:18 am . Reply

    well last night i went on a spying mission on derby fulham and middlesbro fans sites. just to look how confident they are or not as maybe the case. middlesbro are happy to face us and fancy themselves. like i have said they see our weakness less mobile defenders and their assets speedy tarore. they believe we dont rate him and think we facing him two years ago. well thats not true hes bound to have improved but he is a player that has many bad habits like not tracking back and never looking up. he can be a match winner as he can cost them the game by being one man light.

    derby seem to be the most confident. they feel they are less deserving of the playoff spot. but now they are their they fear nobody. they fancy themselves to cause a major shock. being the least fancied

    fulham well i said they will be gutted and i fancy they will be knocked out by derby. but that was a understatement. their fans have well and truly thrown their toys out the pram. they are question their style and bottle to compete in playoffs.

    my thoughts are us and middlebrough will fight it out in two legged affair . who ever wins that will be promoted. i do fancy us against bro but only if we turn up like the way we ripped wolves apart. if that team plays against bro we will be sailing through. but if we don’t respect them, they will cause us problems, them and derby both can cause us problems, its down to how they play on the break with speed merchants. both will target chester terry. also if we played jedi then thats another with no speed. we would be playing russian roulette.

    1. Adam May 8, 2018 at 9:17 am . Reply

      Got to use bjarnason if hes fit in the more defensive CM role. I actually cant wait for Saturday. I can already tell i will be watching through my fingers over my eyes. I wont be able to sleep or eat and i will have no finger nails left by Sat night! But bring it on i think its our year!

  6. Holte66 May 8, 2018 at 5:44 pm . Reply

    Nervously optimistic is how I would describe myself at the moment. I do think as we have proved at home to Wolves, Fulham and Cardiff that we can beat anyone on our day. I agree with Adam on Bjarnasson as my first choice defensive midfielder although against Middlesbrough I wouldn’t be too worried if he played Whelan or Jedi. Playing a Pulis team will mean our attacking players will have to be at their best to break them down.

  7. Bill Pearson May 8, 2018 at 8:34 pm . Reply

    After a heroic victory over Reading in the semi-final of the Premier League 2 Division 2 play-off semi-final, Aston Villa’s U23 side have one final test before promotion to the upper tier of England’s reserve league is realised.

    They face Brighton and Hove Albion in a home fixture at Villa Park in a single legged match, in which 90 minutes will be the decider in regards to who is promoted, and who remains in the lower tier.

    The final will take place at 12pm UK time this Saturday (the same date as AVFC’s first-team play-off semi-final against Middlesbrough) and fans in the area can attend for free if they have a season ticket, or spare change (£4) if they don’t. Some will be a bit annoyed at the timing of the final, but according to Villa, this could not be helped.

    Villa will be heading into the final on the back of a spectacular penalty shoot-out victory over Swansea City in the Premier League Cup final last week. The victory rightly brought jubilant celebrations, led by an ecstatic Callum O’Hare and an overjoyed Rushian Hepburn-Murphy. Take a look:

    1. Benno May 10, 2018 at 4:23 am . Reply

      Be brilliant for the club if both teams came up at the same time. I really fucking hope we can do it!

  8. Bill Pearson May 11, 2018 at 5:17 pm . Reply

    Wakes wakes, Johnston not in goal tomorrow , wife’s having a baby any time soon.

  9. Bill Pearson May 11, 2018 at 8:35 pm . Reply

    Half time in play off, Derby 1-Fulham 0.

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