Date:Saturday January 2 2010
ASTON VILLA 0-1 Liverpool
On a very cold a snowy night at Villa Park, the scouse legend proved to be correct as Villa were absolutely robbed by a man sporting a rubbish goatee. In a match that Villa deserved at least a point from, Torres struck a winner in the third minute of stoppage time after a series of slips and rebounds resulted with the ball at his feet for him to angle past Friedel.
BLACKBURN 2-2 Sunderland
After a goalless first half Blackburn twice had to come from behind to salvage a point at home. Bent put Sunderland ahead only for Pedersen to strike back in a timely fashion before Bent again put them ahead for Diouf to equalise in a timely fashion… again.
Your guess is as good as mine for this one. We`ve been told that now we will start to see some rotation, but who will get 'rotated` is just speculation until the team sheet is released.
Guzan should be called in and given the run of the FA Cup, much like in the Carling Cup, and Villa are currently blessed enough to have good strength in defensive numbers so any changes will still mean a tough defence. I imagine O`Neill will replace Dunne with Collins to see how a Cuellar/Collins partnership would work.
The inclusion of Reo-Coker and Albrighton against Liverpool may mean a rest for Downing & Milner ahead of Tuesday`s massive game but upfront the numbers aren`t quite so strong so unless Delfouneseo gets a start we should see Gabby & Carew again.
At least, this is what I would do but I`m not the manager.
Defence: Beye, Cuellar, Collins, Warnock
Midfield: A. Young, Petrov, Reo-Coker, Albrighton
Up Front: Agbonlahor, Carew
I really haven`t the foggiest as Blackburn too, are expected to make several changes with an eye already on the huge Carling Cup semi final.
Neither team faces any player suspensions.
Stephen Warnock: Facing his former club at his new home should have the England hopeful fired up. He`s been in brilliant form of late and barring the slip leading up to Torres` goal, has hardly put a foot wrong.
Jason Roberts: Will be searching for his 150th goal in English football as he takes aim at a much changed Aston Villa back line.
Referee: Howard Webb
Assistant Referees: Peter Kirkup & Mike Mullarkey
Fourth Official: Phil Crossley
The only win for Blackburn in their last 10 games was the penalty shootout victory against Chelsea that saw them through to the semi final of the Carling Cup. Sam Allerdyce`s men have drawn their last 2 games and due to some irregular form find themselves 7 places adrift of Villa.
With Villa having lost their last two games against top four rivals Arsenal & Liverpool, Martin O`Neill will be keen for a break away from the Premier League and get back to the cup competitions, which seem to be a case of so far, so good.
As we all know, Villa are 7 time FA Cup champions but have over recent years had somewhat of a dismal record in the competition as we`ve been eliminated at this stage of the competition in 6 of the last 8 seasons.
Blackburn on the other hand, have managed to reach the semi final in 2 of the last 5 seasons.
With both sides expected to make changes for this clash due to having to play each other again on Tuesday makes it a very difficult one to call but with these two sides meeting three times this month, I`m thinking it`s a bound to be a draw ensuring a fourth meet with a replay.
Replays will be played on January 12th 2010.
Looking like we`re going to get sick of the sight of each other.
Prediction… Aston Villa 2-2 Blackburn Rovers
Date:Saturday January 2 2010
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