Villa – Blues; Their first cup final of the season, but I’m reasonably confident.

I both love and hate this particular fixture.
It’s the fear of losing and knowing you’ll never hear the end of it from blues fans, as opposed to the massive buzz it gives me when we win and keep them firmly in their usual inferior place.

About three weeks ago, a bluenose workmate of mine asked my thoughts about the game and I told him I wasn’t very confident and would have taken a draw. He was much more confident and thought they could definitely get something from the game.
Forward to now and isn’t it amazing how one result can totally change things?
I now think we can get at least a point and possibly all three, whereas my mate is much more worried after the way we ripped Derby a new one.

League-wise, there’s nothing in it, with us being in eleventh with them sitting one place behind us, courtesy of a single goal in our goal difference.
A win for either side would see them in eighth, four points behind the play-off places.

Both sides have good reasons for confidence.
We’re playing reasonably well and that Derby win in particular must have given the lads a big lift.
But blues are very tough to actually beat, with them only having lost once in 13 games. It hurts to say it, but that’s not too shabby at all. Ok, there’s been seven draws, but they’ve also had some very decent wins, including away to Leeds and Stoke.

Team news then and on our part, Neil Taylor is fit, although I’m not convinced he’ll start after the way the team looked much better when he went off against Derby.
James Chester, is good to start, after his knee niggle that saw him limp off in the Wales game. This is great news.
Birkir Bjarnason is out, after having a smallish groin operation.
The bad news is that John McGinn has been given every chance to recover from his groin injury before Dean Smith made a decision earlier today. I’ve not seen any comments either way, so it’s touch or go whether he makes it.

I don’t see many changes on our part, unless they’re forced, but there’s a chance that Bolasie might start in Kojia’s place, with the latter having missed many chances against Derby.

The only news that I can be bothered about on blues’ part is that Gary Gardner won’t be playing, no doubt through a loan clause.
There’s something really ironic about that when he’s apparently been their best midfielder.

It’s that doubt about John McGinn that makes calling this pretty tricky.
I said a while back that he’d be key to this game, as it seems blues’ midfield is probably their weak point, especially without Gardner in it.

blues have players who can hurt us and our defence isn’t the best, although it’s improved recently.
But the game will be won in midfield and McGinn’s industry and guile would make a big difference. If he doesn’t start he’ll be a massive miss.

If McGinn plays, I’d be fairly confident of a win.
But if he doesn’t, this has a draw written all over it, although I still see us as favourites.

I’ll stick my neck out and go for 2-1

101 Comments

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  1. Pat 57 November 25, 2018 at 1:55 pm .

    What a superman! Hutton fouls two noses at once

  2. badger123 November 25, 2018 at 1:56 pm .

    That’s it.
    That’ll do!

  3. Pat 57 November 25, 2018 at 1:56 pm .

    YEESSSS! We win

  4. Pat 57 November 25, 2018 at 1:59 pm .

    What a win! Resilience is important too and all of Smith’s teams seem to have that.

    I’m sure we can all see where we’re creaking a bit – goalie, defence and mid-field when McGinn doesn’t play but we have a great attack and a great team spirit. Well done the lads!

    UTV

  5. Hitchens60 November 25, 2018 at 1:59 pm .

    Going to enjoy lunch today at a super restaurant at the north end of the island and right on the beach. A few rums may well be consumed. Well done to Dean Smith and the team. Pride of Birmingham, Pride of the Midlands.

    UTV

    1. Pat 57 November 25, 2018 at 2:01 pm .

      Have a rum for me Hitch. I might have one myself, God knows it’s cold enough here.

      What a way to start a Sunday!

      1. Hitchens60 November 25, 2018 at 2:30 pm .

        Will do Pat and I’ll raise a glass to the Villa.

        The City is ours

  6. Tekkers48 November 25, 2018 at 2:02 pm .

    What a game. Delighted with that. Another 3 points midweek and we are looking like we are on the march up the table. Fear nobody. Everyone put in a shift today. Some sloppy goals conceded but you will take it when you know you can outscore the opposition. UTV SOTC.

  7. Pat 57 November 25, 2018 at 2:19 pm .

    Smith admits that Villa didn’t play well but says that ‘there’s goals in the team’.

    Bit of an understatement there I think.

    Lovely to have a manager that constantly speaks sense.

  8. Hitchens60 November 25, 2018 at 2:30 pm .

    Good call Nath.

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