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A big one for the stiffs and a little semi for the kids.


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Feeling a little bit tense about our battle for league places or our FA cup semi-final?

Why not spend your week relaxing at Villa Park where our reserves and youth team will be battling for league placings and taking part in an FA Cup Semi-final.

Ah, the perfect way to warm up for Saturdays trip to that there London. Two little slices of football heaven at Villa Park this week and you could go see both for just two quid!

First up it’s Aston Villa Reserves vs. Arsenal Reserves on Bank Holiday Monday. (Kick off 19:00)

Come on fat boy; drag your chocolate filled carcass down to Villa Park for this one!

It’s first against second and the two best young sides in the country in recent years will battle it out for the Premier Reserve League South title.

We’ve won our division in each of the last two seasons and are going for an unprecedented third straight title. Those championship seasons have been founded on the excellence of a very special group of young players and a fair smattering of them should play in this one.

Ciaran Clark, Marc Albrighton and Jonathon Hogg should all feature as hopefully will Nathan Delfouneso. Wilfred Bouma, working his way back to fitness and Curtis Davies who shows a refreshing willingness to take part in the odd reserve game, have joined them in recent weeks and we might see both on Monday night.

We could also see borderline squad members Moustapha Salifou and Isaiah Osbourne in midfield and the mysterious Andy Marshall back between the sticks. It’s also a great opportunity to catch an early glimpse of Andreas Weimann, a player whose rise to prominence this season has been meteoric. He’s the leagues top scorer and has gone from undersized understudy to Delfouneso to the top of the class; he’s a player with a future and worth a look.

For Arsenal, Dutch poser Nacer Barazite will be doing his award winning “tonight Matthew, I’m going to be Zlatan Ibrahimovic” comedy impression but you can also see some really top-drawer talent; the likes of Frimpong, Evina, Eastmond, Sunu and Watt can all play a bit. Look out for Tom Cruise too; he’s a regular in Arsenals reserve side.

It tends to get a bit feisty this one, with goals, sendings off and incident galore and it’s always a good game to watch.

Admission is free to season ticket holders and £2 for everyone else with kids and old folks getting in for a £1.

Next up is the FA Youth Cup Semi-Final 1st leg: Aston Villa vs. Newcastle United on Thursday evening. (Kick off 19:00)

It’s the first time we’ve been this far in the competition in a couple of years, despite some of the quality that’s come through to our reserve side and the current crop will be looking to go one better than the team that lost to Chelsea in front of 10,000 at Villa Park in 2008.

In truth, nobody would really have expected us to get this far, the team started the year with no real expectation but they seem to have gelled and in the last few months have been putting in some fantastic performances.

The Newcastle side are a mystery to me so I’m not really sure if we’re favourites or not, but a big crowd at Villa Park will certainly help.

Gems have emerged from Bodymoor Heath this season as Tony McAndrew continues to work his magic and although we’re missing the excellent Gary Gardner and the giant Arsenio Halfhuid you’ll not be disappointed with these young Lions.

In goal we’re spoilt for choice but I expect Calum Barrett to miss out to Benjamin Siegrist our U17 World Cup winner and a real prospect.

Other highlights are Sam Simmonds; a small but really bright and lively forward who’s our number one goal threat and great to watch, Samir Carruthers; a cultured midfielder with a sumptuous touch and an eye for a pass, and a solid defence featuring the promising Danny Devine and Derrick Williams.

Somewhere amongst Thursdays line up is a player that will make it all the way through to the first team, be the first to see him and you can annoy people in the pub about it for years to come. I do.

This is the most prestigious domestic youth tournament in the world and it’d really help these lads if we could put in a decent sized crowd. If you can make it, please do.

Tickets are available online for £3 although I assume you’ll also be able to pay on the night and all the usual concession apply.

Two cracking match ups in prospect then, but there’s more to it than that. If you’ve never been to a reserves or youth game before, you’re missing out on a great experience, it’s a matchday unlike any other.

For starters, there’s no traffic, no hassle getting to the ground and no trouble parking. If you’re there early enough you can park for free in the North Stand car park and I think you park in the Holte End car park too.

If you’ve done that you can wander in to the Holte Pub and have your tea or enjoy a quiet stout (other beverages are available) as you watch the evening sun set behind the Holte End mosaic.

An almost empty Villa Park lit up for an evening game is a beautiful thing and one of the great things about reserve games is that you’re relaxed enough to take it in, there’s none of that tension, none of that aggression that comes with the absolute desperate requirement for a first team win; a reserve game won’t leave you in a three day mood.

The football is good and you get an understanding of how players learn, you can hear what they’re saying and hear what the coaches are saying to them; equally importantly they can hear you; which every now and then makes for an evenings entertainment all on its own.

You get to see the stars of tomorrow and a glimpse into our footballing future as well as a good selection of the stars of our past, with the director’s box often filled with former players. When was the last time you asked Ian Taylor what he made of the game as you strolled back to the car?

And do you know what? I daresay that it doesn’t hurt that we’re just very, very good at this level.

It’s cheap as chips, twice as tasty and you’ll be home by half nine.

What have you got to lose?

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Fantastic stuff Scott :clap: As per usual I'm jealous as hell that you lot can just wander down the road and go to these games :angry:

One teeny tiny correction. Sanchez Watt is currently sitting on Leeds' bench at Yeovil.

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