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Preview : Villa v Cardiff City


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Venue: Villa Park

Date: Wednesday 23/09/09

Kick off: 19:45

It may have passed you by, but the last time Aston Villa entertained Cardiff City at Villa Park we went on that year to win the League Cup.

That was 34 years ago in the old 2nd division; and back then a brace from Brian Little was enough for a 2-0 win on the way to promotion back to the top flight and, as I said, the League Cup along the way. Our 2 clubs went in very different directions after that and we never looked back (well briefly in '87..).

How nice would it be for history to repeat itself? I don't usually go in for omens but hey I'll take what I can get this year in the hope that Villa can put some silverware, any silverware, in the cupboard.

Cardiff have made a strong start to this season and they would be regarded as one of the favourites to gain promotion from the Championship, so this will by no means be a walkover (is there ever such a thing anyway?). They've been there or thereabouts for a few seasons now in the Championship and it's only a matter of time before they feature strongly at the business end of the league. Last season they missed out on the play-offs not on points or even on goal-difference but on goals scored; and even then it was by a solitary goal to Preston North End. They are one of the trickier Championship sides to draw.

One familiar face who will be making a return to Villa Park is Peter Whittingham who has established himself as one of the more dangerous & creative goal threats at Cardiff City Stadium. We remember Whittingham as the young nervous but gifted winger who, on his day, could land a cross on Angel's forehead with ease but on an off day was the proverbial rabbit in the headlights. Brilliant for the all-conquering reserves but inconsistent and fearful for the first team.

The Welshmen make the trip to Villa Park currently 6th in the Championship and right in the mix with those above them. Though having said that, their 3 losses this season have all come in their last 4 league games so perhaps we are catching them just as their season is starting to wobble.

Michael Chopra is the man to watch. Dropping down a level has seen him re-capture his scoring form and he has been one of the stars of the Championship this season already bagging 7 goals in 8 league games. You would fancy that if our defence can put him in their pocket then we're already half way into the 4th round.

From Villa's point of view you can never be quite sure just how much Martin O'Neill will mix his team up for cup competitions but something tells me it will be a very strong line-up. We can't afford to go out of this competition. Now Martin has never been one to throw the domestic cups by the wayside; and if you consider that we are already out of Europe I think this tournament takes on even more significance than it otherwise would have. It's fair to say that, in my view, the team we put out against Cardiff will be one that shows our intent to go all the way in this competition. It'll also be interesting to see if Martin really has forgotten last week's 'kerfuffle' with Reo-Coker as he said he would. Will NRC be in the matchday squad? I hope so.

Villa are currently on a five match winning streak in all competitions. We are now defensively very solid, we are one of the form teams in the country and Cardiff will be more afraid of us than we are of them. This is our backyard and we're in the process of making it a fortress (I hate that cliché). They will probably come here with the mindset that they're the underdogs and they've nothing to lose; that this fixture is their opportunity to try and get their form back on track after recent slips against Doncaster, Newcastle & QPR. We need to make sure this doesn't happen, that we don't take it casually and bow out prematurely like we have done all too often in recent years and here's to Gabby continuing his rich vein of goalscoring form!!

The bookies have us around 4/9 to win in 90 minutes (1/6 just to get through) with Cardiff 11/2 in 90 minutes (or 7/2 to get through).

Tickets are £20 for adults, £15 for young adults, students & over-65's with under 16s paying a fiver.

UTV!

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Cheers for the preview BOF; It's a fascinating one this, Cardiff are just dangerous enough to cause a few sleepless nights and our team selection might tell us an awful lot about the managers thinking for the season.

With Europe gone, we'll not generate the number of games we wanted to keep our big squad occupied, so there'll be a pressure to succumb to our old friend rotation. The likes of Delfouneso, Albrighton, Shorey, Guzan and Gardner will all be hoping for an opportunity to get their season underway, but a weakening of the first eleven could put us under threat.

So, is the confidence we've built in the league against a run of poor opposition a true confidence, or is the manager thinking a little more cautiously about an assault on the higher reaches of the table. Is his belief sufficient to risk this competition on a shadow team, or will he be looking to add some insurance to our recent good run with a strong line up?

We will know much by the time this kicks off.

Will Peter Enckelman be returning with the bluebirds?

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I expect a strong line-up too.

Perhaps Big JC and the Fonz up front.

Coker, gardner and Delph in MF with Milly supporting.

Strong back four, with Guz in goal. I think we may rest RBD, and this match could see the return of L Young, so the back 4 could be young, Cuellar, Undertaker, Warnock.

Certainly, we now have a very decent depth to choose from in every dept.

EDIT: Seems it's L Young's brother's funeral on weds. So maybe we will see Beye at RB instead.

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Well the undertaker is Collins and I'm assuming RBD is RichardBinDunne?

yup. :P

I thought this was now widely accepted terminology for these players on VT?

I think MON will put out s string side, but with several changes for the fringe boys to get a go.

Becuase if the likes of gardner etc don't get a go in the CC, when are they going to get a go at all?

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Just reading a Cardiff City preview there.

They reckon Enckelman will be in goal and a certain Ricky Scimeca will be in defence :) So a right old boys reunion lined up :thumb: Having 3 agents in the opposition team is a luxury :D

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