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Match Preview: Manchester City v Aston Villa


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Villa head to the CoMS for their penultimate away game of the season.

FA Barclays Premiership

Saturday 28th April 2007

City of Manchester Stadium

Kick Off 3pm

Another weekend, and hopefully another away day in the suhnsheeeeeiiiiiinnee as we travel to the 'Blue Camp' to face our bogey team, Stuart Pearce's Manchester City...hang on, Steve Bruce is on the TV (vomits)...and we'll be looking for a win. This game is between the two sides whose games have produced the least goals - so expect a cracker, it's always the way. I must say I hate it when we play Man City. I don't know what spell it is they have over us but ever since Juan Pablo Angel gave us a the lead at the CoMS and we lost 4-1, these games have been our worst performances and our most embarrassing results: the defensive shambles at home this season, the game which saw Lee Hendrie sent off for the phantom headbutt, Micah Richards equalising in the FA Cup and swearing on the BBC afterwards. It's been an absolute horror show.

With three matches to play this season, Villa sit in 11th spot in the Premiership, two places and one point above City. Oh, and our goal difference is better as well, largely because we score more goals. City have won only five home games this season (that's one less than Villa...no, I'm serious!). After winning at Blackburn and Middlesbrough, having trailed in both matches, Villa have now won a colossal three away games. If anybody says this game is meaningless, they need to read between the lines. Villa's recent record against City needs amending, and with a chance to win three away games on the bounce for the first time in god knows how long, the motivation will presumably be there for Villa. We know they're a bogey side, they know they're a bogey side. Time for a win.

Villa's form, particularly away from home, has improved since that awful run which spanned the middle of the season. We're unbeaten in six, and our only loss in the last eight was at home, to Diaby's fluke against Arsenal. City's away form over the same period has been hugely better than their home form. They've beaten Fulham, Newcastle and Middlesbrough on their travels, with notable home defeats in 2007 coming against Reading, Wigan and Blackburn. City are far from unbeatable at home. We've beaten Reading and Blackburn this season, and Wigan are the worst side in Premiership history. So there. City have lost one in seven, but if you have a moment, try to find their last goal at home.

Joey Barton has, unsurprisingly, lit the fuse for this one already. He did a "Roy Keane" this week, acting like a true captain and slagging off his 'average' team mates. The story is so predictable it's untrue. Barton will play tomorrow, he'll be booed, he'll score, and he'll be a hero again. All of which is worrying, what with Darius Vassell having already been pencilled in on tomorrow's scoresheet. The little git always scores against us and it's starting to really get on my nerves. But if Villa ignore the Man City circus and go about their business, we could be happy fans by 5pm tomorrow.

Martin O'Neill has targeted six points from our last three games this season, and with Europe-chasing Bolton hosting us on the last day, two wins must include tomorrow in my book. It's nice to see we're still after points, by the way. A top half finish would be superb. Now if we can only avoid the huge slump in the middle, we could be looking at European qualification in the next couple of seasons. It's about time. The damage at Villa is steadily being fixed. We have a manager who knows what he's doing, and a board that fully intends to make us great again. Despite the comments of a few fans, we have better players than last season. A new crest, a new kit supplier, a new sponsor to follow in 2008/09, a new board, a new manager, new players. And all of this within a framework with one eye on tradition. Our traditional place in Europe will be ours once again very soon.

City are expecting Emile Mpenza to return from injury, along with nasty little irritant Paul Dickov. Michael Johnson and DaMarcus Beasley are doubtful. Villa have no new injury worries, with Gabriel Agbonlahor's tonsillitis on the wane, so Gavin McCann, Liam Ridgewell, Gary Cahill and Steven Davis may again miss out on the 16.

Sir Mark of Lawrenson has for the fourth Villa game in a row predicted a 2-1 Villa win. He got one spot on, with one 3-1 win and one 0-0 draw, so he could've done worse. I think if we are to win, 2-1 will be the score. We can't keep a clean sheet because Darius will score, and I predict goals from Gabby "Meep Meep" Agbonlahor and a winner from Gareth Barry, perhaps from the spot.

If you're going, have another top trip on the road.

Come on you Villa boys!


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If we're up for this game, we will win IMO.

Citeh are a club in a little bit of disarray at the moment, similar to where we were this time last season. They have nothing now to pla for (other than the Man U game next week) and may not be fully up for this game.

If MON can get the troops focused big time on this match, we can win it.

If we can dominate Barton in MF, that's half the battle won. Big IF - needs a big game from Barry and Stan.

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I always find these games are especially dismal as I'm usually sat in a pub with the London Villans....

Theres something about a whole heap of Villa fans watching a team fall apart like a cheap sofa from DFS that magnifies the depression.

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