I like this Derby.
While it doesn’t have quite the er, edge that the Villa-Blues one does, it’s pretty much the same, in that the enmity is there, but it’s played in a more gentlemanly way, in my opinion.
Let’s face it, Albion are just a classier club than the other locals, aren’t they? Much better history and pedigree etc.
But I might go into that more in a few day’s time.
Tony Pulis went well over the top with his criticism of the Villa fans in our last meeting, where some of us stormed the pitch in a very happy way.
He also totally ignored the Albion fans behaviour and that of some of his players.
Which is fair enough; A manager should always back his club.
But it helped to cost us serious money, in a £200,000 fine.
Still, that’s football and onto the game.
We all know what Pulis is about, don’t we?
He’s going to try to contain the game and hit us on the break.
It’s all he knows and while it’s boring (as I’m sick to death of Albion fans telling me), it can be very effective.
And Tim Sherwood is going to go all out to win it.
Which makes this look a decent prospect for goals, in my opinion.
Why don’t I predict the bore draw or the odd one goal win either way then?
Well, Sherwood won’t allow it and will attack.
Quite rightly so, as even though some of us might think he’s tactically naive, my opinion says he plays the game in the right way, in that goals get you wins and wins get you points. Draw every game and you’re at risk of the drop, fact.
Hence I’ve come round to the fact that we might concede first, because Albion will be playing the cannier, more predictable game.
But the interesting thing here, is that I think we have enough about us to beat the Albion, even if that happens, at least from an attacking side of things.
The big problem I have, is with our defence.
While it, at face value, looks a much better prospect than the last few seasons, I still quite simply don’t trust it.
We’re always likely to concede, in my eyes, which will always make things hard work for us.
Then again though, contrary to what many of us have said about Gabby lately, I’d expect him to be a starter for this one: He’s the derby specialist isn’t he?
And Sinclair might want to prove a point. As indeed, might Lescott.
Squad news then and Ben Foster apart, I think Albion have a full squad to call on.
Villa-wise, Gana, Traore and Gil are all iffy and these are all big misses.
Llori apparently isn’t ready for the Prem.
Yes, ok Tim.
I’m expecting him on the bench then, with a cameo in mind, if we’re in the right sort of position.
So we’re going to concede, without doubt, in my mind.
But I think we’ll win. 2-1.