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Vs West Ham: Match Preview


JohnCresswell
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Vs West Ham: Match Preview

And so, another season ends. And to be perfectly honest, I’m both glad and horrified that it’s over. Glad because it seems as if we are running out of steam, and horrified because it means the beginning of months and months a pathetic transfer speculation that, if it ends up the same as the previous windows, will end up incredibly disappointing – even if you aren’t expecting much in the first place like in January. But let’s leave that for a few weeks time.

Last Saturday Villa played like a team who had already gone on their Summer break. Having worked themselves into a great position in the last month, they blew it in spectacular fashion with an awful display against Wigan Atheltic. Martin O’Neill was tactically outwitted by a man who looks like Quasimodo, and if Villa are to cling on to this position we are in – and with it the Intertoto place – then they will have to do a lot better than they have in a long time when playing a game in London.

We haven’t won a game in London since the 27th March 2004, when we managed to beat Charlton 2-1. So that’s over four years since we won there then. I make that twenty two games since we last won in London.

Games between the two teams have been fairly tight over the last few seasons. Villa won at Villa Park in one of the seasons more forgettable games with thanks to a single Craig Gardner goal. It was the same scoreline last season, and it won’t come as any shock to find out that we didn’t manage to win against West Ham last season, despite them not being able to actually win a game. Bobby Zamora equalized Agent Ridgewell’s 4th minute goal. The game that day was merely incidental, with the media very excited about Carlos Tevez’s debut.

Martin O’Neill has a couple of interesting choices to make. Firstly, does he stick with the formation that a few weeks ago was working so well until Wigan showed up and bulldozed us to victory. With Petrov in that holding role, his influence in the game was totally diminished by Koumas being played ‘in the hole’. Another selection problem with Gareth Barry. The captain is supposed to lead by example, but after being unsettled by Liverpool in a desperate attempt to sign him, Barry was incredibly poor. I notice the newspapers are once again carrying the story from Liverpool’s perspective on a Friday before an important game. Co-incidence? Of Course! The problem is it’s not as if Villa have a huge pool of talent to replace him with.

We also see both Nigel Reo-Coker and Marlon Harewood returning to the Boleyn Ground. Reo-Coker will get the reception I imagine Barry will get from us next year, whilst Marlon is looked on in a much more favourable fashion and I expect should he get on the pitch will be treated kinder by the West Ham crowd.

As far as team news goes, expect the same team which has seemed to play every game this season. Mellberg makes his last appearance in a Villa shirt, as does, I expect a few other players.

West Ham maybe rubbish, but at least they are topping the table of something. They are top of the ‘Injury League table’ with a massive 12 – Ljundberg, Spector, Ferdinand, Upson, Gabbidon, Etherington, Bowyer, Bellamy, Davenport, Quashie, Collins and Kieron Dyer are all listed as having injuries, though it is expected that Spector, Ferdinand, Upson and Etherington will play on Sunday.

Betting

Paddy Power are offering at the time of this article:

West Ham 2-1

Aston Villa 5-4

Draw 9-4

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Have we really not won in London for 22 games? That's ridiculous.

We HAVE to win tomorrow. If Blackburn go and beat the dirty Blues, I don't think the satisfaction of seeing Blues go down will overshadow us missing out on Europe.

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He's right. The only thing we can do is very tentatively claim the win against Reading was against a 'London' team which it really wasn't :)

No time like the present though.

Great preview btw JC :thumb:

I have my season-ending cold turkey chilling in the fridge as we speak :(

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