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I'm making a rare trip to London for the clash of the Claret and Blues so can't wait! Will be good to see if we can banish the spectre of last years thrashing, then we weren't even at the races but the same team look completely different under Martin O'Neill so the sky is the limit.

Vital Quotes:

O'Neill said: 'The Swedish manager makes the rules and it is his right to do what he wants to. If Olof has broken the rules, then he deserves some sort of punishment. But I think he is okay.'

West Ham Team News:

West Ham could see debuts from Argentines Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano. Roy Caroll is out with a groin strain and John Pantsil is out with a silly name (or knee problem, not sure which) West Ham (from): Green, Walker, Mears, Ferdinand, Gabbidon, Collins, Konchesky, Spector, Dailly, Benayoun, Mullins, Mascherano, Reo-Coker, Bowyer, Reid, Sheringham, Cole, Harewood, Zamora, Tevez.

Player to watch: Ferdinand

I like a good laugh at ridiculous hairstyles (says the man with no hair!)

Aston Villa Team News:

Stiliyan Petrov is due to make his debut so either Gavin McCann or Steven Davis will no doubt be on the bench. Milan Baros should return and is most likely to be a sub. Aaron Hughes faces a late fitness test but is doubtful due to a groin injury and the luckless Mark Delaney picked up another knee injury for Wales and is also a doubt. Aston Villa (from): Sorensen, Hughes, Mellberg, Ridgewell, Bouma, Whittingham, Samuel, Davis, McCann, Petrov, Barry, Hendrie, Moore, Agbonlahor, Angel, Baros, Taylor, Delaney, Laursen, Djemba-Djemba.

Player to watch: Stiliyan Petrov

Lets see what he makes of the Premiership and hope he can provide the much needed ammunition for the strikers.

Match Facts & Stats

West Ham are 6th, 4 points
Aston Villa are 3rd, 7 points

Last season: West Ham United 4-0 Aston Villa
Harewood 25, 29, 50, (which wouldn't have been so bad if I'd not said in my preview that he couldn't score in a brothel!) Benayoun 89

Record in the Prem: West Ham 3 wins, Villa 6 wins, Draws 11

At Upton Park in the Prem: West Ham 2 wins, Villa 2 wins, Draws 6

Ref Watch:

Steve Bennett

Match Prediction:

Mystic Mug is in optimistic mood and says Villa will snatch a 1-0 victory and come back from the Smoke with all three points.

Next Fixtures:

Sept 16: (Watford) 5.15pm
Sept 23: CHARLTON 3pm

Writer:J P Fear
Date:Friday September 8 2006
Time: 5:35PM

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Vital Boxing - Joshua Tells It As It Is


2-1 villa, we will have some moments but o'neill magic will continue. if their new boys start dont let them fu**ing breathe.
08/09/2006 18:06:00
The Fear is in London?? will he be in a public house before the match?!
08/09/2006 18:36:00
Cant remember when we last won at Upton Park, the only occasion that immediately comes to mind is a 1-0 win back in the late 70's, Andy Gray scoring. Surely we've won there since? I'll go for the exact same scoreline, JPA or Milan Baros netting the all important winner. As long as we dont 'enjoy' the same long, tedious, miserable drive home we experienced last season, following another woefull showing.
08/09/2006 19:46:00
We have won there since but can't think when - bogey team me thinks - wish we hadn't had that international break - here's hoping. I remember all those draws. So I'll go for more of the same 1:1
08/09/2006 22:18:00
Just good to hear positive comments coming from Villa but lets not get ahead of ourselves. We need to take points from teams such as West Ham because at the mo they are realistically one of our contenders for a good overall position at the end of the season - they would realise this too. However, having a happy squad improves the likelyhood of a positive result.
08/09/2006 22:28:00
I was doubtful for us against Newcastle, and then come game time we never looked like losing. To be honest, what with the scorline last year, I again slightly am doubtful, but I think we'll snatch this one this time around
09/09/2006 04:12:00
lets be 2x party poopers
09/09/2006 12:39:00
My Mystic Mug is in optimistic mood and says Villa will get nailed 4 - 0 by a very very good West Ham side.
Cpt. Mainwaring
09/09/2006 15:33:00
i know this is turning into a bit of a cliche now but on a couple of occasions today and yesterday i think to myself , we have Martin O'Neill as our manager . I get butterflies in my stomach and i still wonder why he chose to join us ! lots and lots of clubs have been after him ! . Who cares if we lose tomorrow he has only just started with this mighty club ! Europe and cup wins are round the corner ! Please don't get me started on the new owner !! My god , am i in heaven ??? I still think we'll win tomorrow , 3-1 Villa
09/09/2006 20:39:00
Sorry , I forgot to say , can someone help me with this sense of euphoria i feel everyday ???? I may need to go into rehab !!!!!!!
09/09/2006 20:43:00
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