This should be pretty straightforward you would think, but nothing is when it comes to the Villa, is it?
We recently played Everton, beating them 4-0 at home, where I thought the Toffees looked terrible and definite relegation candidates, but I watched them at Brentford on Saturday and they looked much improved, well deserving their 3-1 victory, in my opinion.
That said, I didn’t think much of Brentford, so it wasn’t saying a lot.
Hence I think we should have more than enough to beat Everton, yet much depends on the side that Unai Emery puts out. He’s proven that we just aren’t good enough to totally reshuffle the side, particularly in defence, where against Legia he just plonked a new back four in, that hadn’t played together before.
So basically, I’m saying we need to stick with pretty much our best defence. I actually think Emery won’t consider making the same mistake for this game. So that’s all right then.
But we do need to rest players and use our squad where possible.
Which is fine, if you do it in a sensible balanced fashion.
I’ve said previously that we should go with a full strength side from the off, get into a well advantageous position and only then change it up. But the problem is that it might well take us an hour or even more to get into that leading position, which probably defeats the aim of trying to rest your players.
I’ve said many times that I can’t see what the problem is with going flat out for 90ish mins two or even three times a week for men in their 20’s, but the reality is that all clubs rest the players these days and if everyone else is doing it and gaining even the slightest advantage from it, (not that I believe they do), we have to do the same. I’m old fashioned, but sensible enough to know that you have to try and gain every positive.
And this is exactly how I believe Emery will see things.
So while I’m assuming he won’t totally change the defence, I do think he will change it up in the middle, with maybe McGinn being rested and Bailey starting. Other changes wouldn’t surprise me, but I don’t believe we can afford to make too many. I don’t rate Everton, but even a poor Prem side offers a big threat, particularly if they put their best side out.
I fully expect Watkins to be rested with Duran coming in from the start. I wouldn’t have a problem with this, personally. As much as I think Watkins is the better player by far at this stage, so Duran looks confident and probably is more dangerous at the moment. I would however have concerns that Everton will basically just outdo the young lad.
Whatever I think, Emery will make the changes from the off which means that anything is likely to happen.
Squad news then and Sean Dyche has a full squad to choose from, with Calvert-Lewin pretty much back to being fully fit. It’s a pretty good position for them to be in, but much will depend on how much importance the manager will place on this competition. You’d think he won’t be interested and survival is by far the bigger priority, but I’m sure their fans would have something to say about that.
Villa have the same players out, who just as a reminder, are Emi Buendía, Diego Carlos, Tim Iroegbunam, Tyrone Mings, Alex Moreno and Bertrand Traoré.
So given that I don’t have a clue which players either club will put out, I can only make a pure guess as to what the result will be and I have to go with the odds of what ought to happen.
And I’m going for a 2-1 victory, hopefully in the usual 90 minutes.
As a slight aside, I note the story about how our shirts are retaining sweat and making the players look like wet shirt contest entries. I find it unbelievable that this hasn’t been spotted before the start of the season. Surely the manufacturing company actually tests them before making them available? It would seem not. And then I read that Gerrard is an investor in Castore, the shirt company. That figures.
Anyway, the women’s team are quite rightly very nervous about having to wear these shirts for obvious reasons and I don’t blame them. It’s disgusting that they might have to play the game against Man U on Sunday at 12.30, while wearing them and leaves them open to being ogled by dirty old men.
I’m putting the game time out there so you can totally avoid it, of course.