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Match Preview: Sheffield United v Aston Villa


ChrisVillan
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It's 'derby' day as Villa visit Sheffield United.

FA Barclays Premiership

Monday 11th December 2006

Kick Off 8pm

Bramall Lane

Villa fans must endure a Villa-free weekend, waiting instead until Monday evening when Martin O'Neill's side will be hosted by Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

United are in good form at the moment, winning their last two in six-pointers against Watford and Charlton Athletic. They had previously been defeated by West Ham United - so they've had some big games in the last few weeks and, by and large, stood up to the test. In fact, they currently perch in 17th place above those sides, two points clear of West Ham in 18th. If the Hammers pick up an unlikely win at the Reebok today, United will be playing to pull out of the bottom three on Monday. Yes, Jez...Monday.

Villa's fall to 8th last weekend demonstrated just how ridiculously tight the top half of the table is this season, and more movement by teams between 3rd and about 11th is to be expected this weekend. Villa's last win was a month before this game, at Goodison Park, with two draws and a home defeat in between. The inevitable slip in form is beginning, but the new apparent will to battle should give us every chance of beating a few sides - even away - between now and May.

United's injury list for Monday is as yet non-existent, with Alan Quinn and Mikele Leigertwood returning from injury. We still have no idea whether Paddy Kenny's eyebrow will grow back. PhysioRoom.com does list Claude Davis as injured, however.

Chris Sutton is in contention for a Villa return on Monday, with any luck ousting the utterly frustrating Milan Baros from the side. Stiliyan Petrov has missed training for part of this week as a precaution, which suggests he may be a doubt for the trip to Bramall Lane.Thomas Sorensen is likely to continue missing out after picking up an injury against Middlesbrough. Luke Moore, Mark Delaney and Martin Laursen all have longer term injuries. Skipper Gareth Barry will miss out through suspension.

Martin O'Neill has spoken this week of a possible slide down the table but in reality most of us have been expecting it for weeks. Villa are not worldbeaters and sometime the adrenaline must drop and injuries will take hold. Only those with wildly unrealistic expectations will be disappointed in the long-term if we don't finish in the top six, no matter how unlikely it is. We are not yet a top six side. However, a defeat on Monday would be disappointing, because we are no longer a bottom six side either.

Don't expect anything other than a hideously inadequate performance from the referee, Lancashire's Mark Halsey. The world's worst referee not only has the same brain wasteland as every other official in the league, but has a good slice of Graham Poll's 'Friend of the Stars' syndrome, and a bit of a habit of stitching up Villa. Setting aside his shocking performances in games not involving Villa, who could forget the ridiculous decisions that have gone against us?

Remember the quick free-kick from Thierry Henry for which Halsey was ludicrously denied an 'assist' in the official records? Or the penalty in the same game? The guy invents rules. He should certainly not be allowed to officiate this game. Last time we played at Bramall Lane, we embarrassed ourselves, but Halsey and his assistants were an absolute disgrace. If you think Graham Poll, or Rob Stiles, or Uriah Rennie are poor referees, I suggest you keep an eye on the bastard in the black on Monday.

So, predictions...

Frankly, we're not getting the run of the pundits this week. Mark Lawrenson has chosen us for his random upset this week, opting for a win for Sheffield United. Oddly, and completely pointlessly, man-breast wielding fat lad Matt Le Tissier has felt the need to open his mouth to export rather than import, and did so in order to back United. Who knows, they might be right, but it would be a slight shock I feel.

As with most away games in the current climate, I'll take a draw. A win would be a bonus, but we are visiting a good battling side and it could be a really dire game. A point keeps us in the mix and that's all we can ask in a season of over-achievement so far. I'm going to go against all of that and go for a wild prediction of a Monday night goalfest: 2-2, goals from Jagielka, Webber, Davis and Ridgewell.

Come on you Villa boys!

ChrisVillan

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A defeat would be a shocking result for us. We need the 3 points - a draw is little better than losing. So we need to blast them out of the water! Save draws for the next 3 "tricky" home games -Bolton, Man.U. and Chelsea

UP THE VILLA

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Bolton 4 - 0 West Ham

Could have one of three psychological effects, as hinted in my preview. It could take away the incentive of the Blades getting out of the relegation zone, it could encourage them to further pull away or, most likely, it could do nothing.

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i'm pessimistic when it comes to predicting results, the only times i think i've expected a win this season was charlton and fulham at home.

i don't expect us to win this one, but i don't think we will lose.

hopefully Baros and Sutton upfront, i really want to see this partnership with a hungry baros

we need to win this so we are firmly in the top 6 by january, as we don't want to slowly slip down the table, 2 losses and newcastles with 2 wins and there above us!

prediction 1 - 1

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:x I'll tell you what we need-->

To be alot more POSITIVE. Mod ChrisVillian, I think ur way to negative. We can beat Sheffield U away. Anything can happen in football. OK, we have a few injuries and not the best attack at the moment but with what we have on the field we can still get away with a 1-0 win. C'mon, a positive outlook from the supporters flows through the whole club and onto the players. Screw negativity- we should always believe that we should win every game on club pride alone. This is a progressive new Villa and losing is totally unacceptable.

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we should gain three points agenst sheffield united. We have to look positive. ...... we should earn a draw AT THE LEAST against bolton.... hopefully we will beat bolton as this will give us a little leeway with the 2 tricky games against man utd and chelsea. However we have drawn away to chelsea erlier this season so a win against sheffield and bolton should help us have the confidence to gain a point to chelsea..

Look forward to tonight HOPE EVERYONES WATCHING!!!! CUM ON VILLLA

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