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Match Preview: Manchester United v Aston Villa


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Villa's annual FA Cup 3rd Round match against Manchester United awaits.

FA Cup Third Round

Old Trafford

Sunday 7th January 2007

Kick Off 2pm

Anyone remember the last time we beat Manchester United in the FA Cup? I don't, so I had a look. Many Villa fans - certainly before we drew United - had touted this as our year in the Cup by virtue of 'The Fifty Year Rule'. That is, fifty years ago this year we won the FA Cup.

Well, you've guessed it. Having faced United in the third round in 2002 and 2004, as well as drawing their replacement lucky loser the year United headed for Brazil instead, we now face them fifty years on from our last Cup victory over them. And it gets worse: we haven't beaten them in the Cup since 1920. Oh and we won the Cup then, too.

Instead of lamenting the luck of the draw, Martin O'Neill and the boys will be looking at this game and hoping to cause an upset. The game plan will need to be perfectly formulated and even more perfectly executed, but I think we can safely assume that getting a result on Sunday would involve a fair slice of luck. The fact that we follow this one up with a league trip to Old Trafford is, frankly, a little terrifying. A replay on 17th January on the other hand, would be very welcome.

The Villa team news around the net is, as always, sketchy. Thomas Sorensen remains out and Crystal Palace have once again kindly given us permission to play Chelsea-baiting goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly, with Stuart Taylor still injured. Craig Gardner is likely to sit out with long-term absentees Luke Moore, Martin Laursen and Mark Delaney. Chris Sutton is also still out. Gareth Barry returns from suspension but is replaced in the sin bin by Olof Mellberg.

I think Gareth is a key player for us on Sunday. Given Freddie Bouma's stonking performance against Chelsea, I'd like to see Villa line up as follows (even though I'm not the manager): Kiraly in goal; Bouma, Ridgewell, Cahill and Hughes across the back; Barry, Davis, McCann, and Agbonlahor in midfield; Angel and Baros up front. Yes, I know it's adventurous and I don't like the look of the strike force much either, but we may as well go for it. If we sit back they'll destroy us.

Manchester United - or, as David Pleat likes to call them, Manchester - have a pretty big chunk of team news for Sunday: Henrik Larsson has signed on loan for 10 weeks or so and is expected to make his debut against former manager O'Neill on Sunday. Louis Saha is out and may be replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Oh dear. 'Sralex' Ferguson has announced that goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak will be preferred to Edwin Van Der Sar.

The referee is Martin Atkinson. He is a referee, so he will be rubbish.

So, the predictions. Once again Lawro's got our number, opting for a 2-0 defeat citing our lack of goal threats. That would be entirely correct in my estimation although a third goal wouldn't surprise me. No doubt I am being slightly too pessimistic but if you think we will go to Old Trafford this weekend and get a result I want some of what you're smoking. Sure, it has to happen sometime. I just can't see it for the time being.

Still, I'm looking forward to it. It's just a shame it's not the final.

Come on you Villa boys!


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A replay on 17th January on the other hand, would be very welcome

Are you serious?

In a squad riddled with injuries and picking up suspensions like anything you want an extra game? I'd love us to win, but I'd rather we got knocked out than drew.

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I remember maybe 20-ish years ago, admittedly in a league game, going to old trafford just after "the Life of Brian" had been on the box (for the first time). There were loads of Villa fans there, behind the goal and we drew 1-1 I think it was.

So obviously 1-1 again.

nice preview.

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...... we simply can't beat Man Utd end of.

Until we get a team that has experienced players in all the vital positions then it will continue to be a fixture not a match.

I'm sure Martin O'neill & Randy Lerner are as keen as me to improve the squad, but until we do we can just sit back and just enjoy THE DAY OUT at Places like Old Trafford.

I will be at the game cheering the lads on never the less..... but chances of winning, i will bare my arse in the co-op window if we win......... ( now where have I heard that before) :lol:

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