UK time is: 17:51:11
Vital Login
Social Login

Choose your club

Other Sites

Network Navigation

Vital Partners

'If It's Football, It's Vital'

AVFC Claret & Blues vs. Middlesbrough FA Cup Bottlers

Villa Park

12/03/08

1945

Don't Mention Cardiff!

Aston Villa return to Premier league action midweek to face a Middlesbrough side reeling from their shock defeat at the hands of Cardiff City courtesy of a Peter Whittingham wonder-goal (nice one Pete!) and a somewhat simple clean sheet by former Villa scapegoat Peter Enckleman (nice one Encks!)

It’s another full preview, with express written consent of J.P.Fear, from Vital Villa!

Vital Quotes:

Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill has told of his excitement as his team look set to end the season fighting for a European place. O’Neill, who is a stickler for putting down anyone’s chances of anything through fear of being wrong, has finally spoken with obvious enthusiasm to avfc.co.uk:

“The fans are excited by us at the minute and so am I. If you can't get excited by the effort and the ability of the team at the moment, what's the point in supporting a football club?”

“Take the Fulham game out of the equation and it's been a remarkably good run where the players have deserved every point they've got - maybe one or two more besides.”

Meanwhile, it appears obvious that Zat Knight will be the man to step in for the injured Curtis Davies. O’Neill has no problems with this, and believes that his team will be equally as strong without the former West Brom centre-back

“I think Zat Knight was very unlucky not to be in the starting line-up when he got suspended. I thought he'd been doing very well.

“Will this weaken the side? Not at all. Zat will be excellent. I've no qualms putting him in whatsoever. That would be quite wrong. I actually think he's improved.”


On the player side of things, Nigel Reo-Coker believes that the next two games will have the biggest effect on the season. Following the ‘Boro game the Villans will come up against FA Cup Semi-Finalists Portsmouth, and a familiar face for Villa fans in Milan Baros, who’s awful attempt at a dive gave Pompey an un-deserved penalty, and Tomasz Kuszczak the chance for an early bath.

Villa’s own ‘Soulja Boy’ spoke to the official website:

“We have a very big game tomorrow, but then this is a pretty big week for us. We play Middlesbrough and then three days later Portsmouth.

“We need six points from these two games ideally, if we are to chase our dream of playing in the Champions League next season.

“We have to treat Middlesbrough like any other game though and we mustn't let the pressure get to us. It's down to us to play our best and show how badly we want to win the game.”


*****

On the Middlesbrough side of things, boss and former Villa defender Gareth Southgate believes that his team need to bounce back from their FA Cup exit in style against the Villans to restore a sense of pride as he told the Boro official site:

“We have to go to Villa and get some pride back. We have got some big league games coming up, we have to respond.”

“It's going to be a tough challenge, we have to respond. Every player will want to get back out there and play.

“After a game like that all the players were in the dressing room scratching their heads, they couldn't explain why they performed as they did.”

I guess your team just were not up for the cup Gareth, sorry!

The Middlesbrough players have been somewhat quiet this week. A shame really as you’d expect them to at the very least come out with the “we were not good enough” speech, or potentially locate some balls to come out with an apology to those who paid good money to see their side dumped out of the cup by a lower league team.

AVFC Claret & Blues Team News:

With Curtis Davies rupturing his Achillies, it appears that the chap that kept him out of the team to start with, ex-Fulham defender Zat Knight will now deputise for the rest of the season.

Olof Mellberg and Nigel Reo-Coker should now be fully fit for the match, remains to be seen as to whether the ‘Im-off-away’ Mellberg will return to his regular right-back slot in place of Craig Gardner.

A strange article on the official site suggests that there may be a recall for Silly-Stan Petrov who has been “rested” for his own good recently (read: dropped.)

If anyone sees either Wayne Routledge or Moustapha Salifou on the pitch during a first team game for Villa, please drop me a line via the Vital Villa forums. Utterly useless (so far) signings that as push comes to shove will suffer even more as O’Neill will not wish to “risk” new players in a stable side….

…what a load of bull poo.

Player to watch: #11 Gabriel Agbonlahor

Apparently the complete lack of goals from Gabby (last goal came just after Christmas) is no worry for a chap that is taking up a striker role.

In terms of goals per game played, Marlon Harewood is doing better despite largely featuring as a substitute.

Gabby may be all-round ok, but in the run in we now need our strikers to go out and get some goals just in the off chance that the net busting defence/midfield go quiet.

Come on Speedy Agbonzales…prove me wrong.

Middlesbrough FA Cup Bottlers Team News:

I’d expect the odd change from Boro tomorrow evening as they look to work out “what went wrong” against Cardiff City.

Jeremie Aliadiere sits out game 4 of his 4 game suspension. Apparently a petulant slap earned him a 3 game ban, then for appealing he got an extra one. Alves may start, possibly.

Player to watch: Alfonso Alves

Will he become a good player? He scored goals in Holland! Well how good is Holland? Who knows! Could Harewood play there? No idea.

Alves cost Middlesbrough approximately 7million more than the Hare and so far hasn’t looked any better, apart from forcing Encks into a great save at the weekend.

The chap could be a threat; then again he could be our best player!

Not the Match Facts:

  • We’re starting with the opposition themed musical interlude. This week it’s been chosen by closet-Villa fan Neil Baker in honour of the away team's own stadium.




  • Thanks Neil, I think.

  • Villa face Chelsea next week in the Youth FA Cup semi-final 2nd leg. Should Villa overcome those Chelsea players who’s futures will undoubtedly lie elsewhere, they will find themselves in the final for the first time since the 2003/04 season.

  • That year the Villa Youth (no relation to a youth of the 1939-1945 kind) were defeated by the Middlesbrough academy lot 4-0 on aggregate.

  • Our side that day included Craig Gardner, Gary Cahill, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Luke Moore.

  • A lesser known part of that team was Magnus Troest, released by Villa in 2005 and subsequently picked up the Danish Under 19 player of the year award and is a regular starter for FC Midtjylland.

  • Middlesbrough was the first town to install a CCTV system that included a network of loudspeakers for publicly telling people off.

  • I was once told to “go home” by one of those speakers in Coventry.

  • I went home.

  • Middlesbrough have appeared in more finals this Millennium than Aston Villa, this needs to be sorted!
  • Ref Watch:

    The referee is Mr Steve Bennett from Orpington.

    The last time he officiated a Villa game was the 1-1 draw away to Sunderland way back in December.

    This weekend is quite a step up for Mr Bennet, who last took charge of a match in the Conference North between Blyth Spartans and Redditch.

    Match Prediction:

    A side on a major high and chasing 4th against a side dumped out of a cup competition by lower league opposition, travelling away to a difficult ground and in a season where they now have nothing to play for. 3-1 to the Villa, Agbonlahor, Carew and Harewood the scorers.

    Next Up:

    Next up Villa make the trek down to the South Coast to face the Baggies FA Cup opposition Portsmouth FC on Saturday

    You’ll love Friday’s preview music.




    Use your social login to comment on front page articles. Login using you Facebook, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn accounts and have your say!

    The Journalist

    Writer: Murph Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

    Date:Tuesday March 11 2008

    Time: 2:12PM

    Your Comments

    come on o'neill
    1888scott
    Mystic Mug was going for 32-0 to Villa but then decided predicting after 10 bottles of elephant beer would do nothing for his reputation. 2-0 to Villa
    The Fear
    Highly entertaining as usual Murph, I do enjoy your previews greatly.
    The Fear
    thanks for making me laugh man, that was a great article! loved the part where u went home! AHAHAHHAHAHHAHA
    Gruck
    now if you can't beat Middlesbrough.................
    merlin
    Says the Chelsea fan still wondering how they were knocked out against Barnsley? ;)
    murph
    merlin you must be the sadest person on the vital network I've seen other articles from other clubs and your comments are all over them. start worrying about your own team
    villabikes29
    yeah i was told to go home, I went home, your a funny guy, I like these previews although the bloody video is no longer available!
    krisvilla
    ahaahahahahahahahhahaahhahahahhahaha
    Gruck
    even i can confidently admit the best we can hope for is a point
    Boro 01
    yeah video works now, lovely stuff
    krisvilla
    let's not tread the fine line of over confidence over middlesbrough. Fulham?
    los_angeles_villan
    Beware Boro. They have quite inexplicably bounced back quickly from appalling defeats before. After Villa thrashed them at the Riverside last year Chelsea were immediately vanquished and this year Arsenal. Cardiff will have wound them up and it is all set for an appalling fall. I am very wary - but with only 1% predicting a defeat (odds of 100 to 1) I think not. The prediction of a 3 -1 win has nice ring to it - but it won't be that easy. Come on Villa, ram my apprehension down my throat!
    stennyvilla
    i think i can forgive people for not being too confident from boro's perspective .. but one bleedin percent!!!
    Boro 01
    There 4 the taking. I doubt if Boro have the fight in them in.
    storagematt
    Hopefully we can keep a clean sheet, something we've found very difficult to do lately. 1-0 to us. Gabby to score, and silence the knockers.
    glensider
    no clean sheet in 14 games, glensider. but boro do have the weakest attack in the league only behind derby!!
    Boro 01
    At least Cardiff wont have the incentive of Europe to play for.
    leelindsay
    oh, and Kezman could score in Holland!!
    leelindsay
    Bouma could score in Holland while playing up front in his early career.....
    KSarge1
    I'm so nervous for today...
    los_angeles_villan
    Weakest attack in the league or not Boro 01, you caused us more than enough problems, and were full value for a point. In fact you deserved all three.
    glensider
     

    Have Your Say

    Log in...
    with your social network     OR     with your Vital account

    Recent Aston Villa Articles

    Lambert Thrilled With US Tour (Sunday July 27 2014)

    Houston 0-1 Aston Villa (Sunday July 27 2014)

    Lambert - We Were Excellent (Thursday July 24 2014)

    FC Dallas 0-2 Aston Villa (Thursday July 24 2014)

    Gardner To Make 2014-15 His Year (Wednesday July 23 2014)

    Roncrete's Sett(led) At Villa (Wednesday July 23 2014)

    Vlaar Bar (Wednesday July 23 2014)

    Archived Aston Villa Articles

    List All Vital Villa Articles
    Have your say
    Click here to suggest an article
    Click here to suggest a poll

    Vital Members League (view all)

    1. The Fear 945
    2. ClivetheVillan 614
    3. Pride of Lions 478
    4. kefkat 362
    5. HeathfieldRoad1874 316
    6. Villan Of The North 239
    7. Green Tea 222
    8. sirdennis 221
    9. Juan Mourep 198
    10. Clubpaver 192

    League Results (view all)

    Latest Results

    League Table (view table)

    Team P W D L GD Pts
    1. Arsenal 0 0 0 0 +0 0
    2. Aston Villa 0 0 0 0 +0 0
    3. Burnley 0 0 0 0 +0 0
    4. Chelsea 0 0 0 0 +0 0
    5. Crystal Palace 0 0 0 0 +0 0
    6. Everton 0 0 0 0 +0 0
    7. Hull City 0 0 0 0 +0 0

    Breaking League News

    In the Hunt for a French Midfielder!
    West Ham : 29/07/2014 17:39:00
    No Fear Of The Future For Pantilimon.
    Sunderland : 29/07/2014 17:37:00
    United Losing Out on Dutch Defender!
    Man Utd : 29/07/2014 17:33:00
    Valencia is Now Officially a Hammer
    West Ham : 29/07/2014 17:02:00
    Lukaku Bound for Everton?
    Chelsea : 29/07/2014 16:57:00

    Current Site Poll (view all polls)

    Darren Bent?
    Suggested By:  JP Fear
    Still needs to be sold 14%
    Should be a starter 32%
    Good for squad/off bench 52%
    No idea! 2%