Aston Villa | Fat Lady, Start Your Engines (City Preview)
Over the course of the last week or so, she`s finished eating her " />
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Manchester City vs. Aston Villa

City of Manchester Stadium



Fat Lady, Start Your Engines (City Preview)

Many a time we are told, in one of sports greatest ever clichés, that it isn`t over "until the fat lady sings."

Over the course of the last week or so, she`s finished eating her kebab, washed it down with one last pint of lager top, and is about ready to start wobbling down the road shouting abuse at people and singing songs about wishing to go home.

Women are changing.

Turning that current affairs topic into football, it now appears that Arsenal have managed to regain the fitness of a number of players, and even swapped Nicklas Bendtner for someone who can play football. Comparing this to the rather disastrous week and a half or so for the Claret & Blue, out of two tournaments, defeat to Chelsea and a Saturday result that was more "this must be a joke" than "we drew at home to Stoke." Villa fans cast a nervous glance over their shoulders at le Arse, who may well be set to launch a renaissance assault on the "big-4-which-is-now-5-because-we-can`t-forget-Arse."

Villa travel to Eastlands, a stadium where I last sat to watch Bon Jovi in concert. It was good, however I`m not sure he`d be cut out to play left back (though in recent times, would probably be picked ahead of poor Nicky Shorey!)

It`s Villa, it`s Man City, Abu Dhabi Dooooo, Preview!

Vital Quotes:

I can`t really take the mickey out of Arsene Wenger this week, so here`s a 'terrific` comment from Paul McGrath:

Teams are not remembered for finishing fourth in the Premier League. The history books generally only show the names of winners.

Meanwhile our illustrious prioritising manager Martin O`Neill has engaged in the reverse mind-game tactic, of praising Manchester City almost completely. He told

"There is no doubt the game will be extremely difficult for us. We could have been facing Kaka - and who's to say we won't be facing up against him next season - you never know in this game.

"Manchester City have spent heavily in the January transfer window with not only this season but future ones in mind too.

"And they will certainly, within six or seven months, be a force to be reckoned with.

"They will be major players in the Premier League next season."

It`s the way that you tell em Marty, it really is!

Stiliyan Petrov, a man re-born this season, has heaped praise on his fellow Bulgarian Valeri Bojinov, who may make a rare start thanks to injuries to just about every one of his rivals. Petrov told the official site:

"Valeri is a great talent. He has already played for two big clubs in Italy, Juventus and Fiorentina, so he is highly rated.

'Unfortunately, he's had a terrible time in the Premier League so far but he's back now. I think City have a great player and we will see more and more of him in the coming years.

"It is fantastic to have him in the national team too, alongside the likes of Dimitar Berbatov."


On the flip flop side, the man who will join the unemployed masses this summer following a dismal Premier League campaign ;o) Mark Hughes has been talking about his injury woes:

"We may well have to play Boj on Wednesday, although it is probably a bit too soon to expect him to play 90 minutes in the Premier League.

"I am pleased we got him on at West Ham because he has not had much Premier League experience.

"It was important that he got a taste of it as soon as possible and we were able to do that, so that was a positive. It is still early in his comeback and we will have to see how he goes. He is a good option for us."

I guess you could always play Darius, Mark? Give us all a giggle!

Manchester City Team News:

As reported, Mark Hughes is struggling with a lack of strikers. Robinio, who still can`t find out where Frank Lampard, John Terry and Didier Drogba have been all this time, is suffering from knee injuries alongside fellow Chelsea Man City forward Craig Bellamy. Bojinov may well be the answer.

Micah Richards is supposed to be struggling as well, aside from that; they look to be doing alright.

Player to watch: Shay Given

Since finally realizing that Newcastle are not a big club, are not a good club, and the sooner they "do a Leeds" the better, Shay has been continuing to prove he is one of the best keepers ever to have graced the Premier League. A tough test for Gabby, who has a hard enough time of late putting the ball on target, let alone either side of a keeper, let alone either side of a superb keeper!

Aston Villa Team News:

Emile Heskey, who I`m starting to think is being rushed back time and time again, is injured again. Same injury, same story. As much as we`d love to expect changes against City, I`d imagine that we`ll see John Carew and Gabby Agbonlahor re-united.

Despite his reserve team comeback, Wilf Bouma is unlikely to be included in the squad.

I call, personally for Bannan and Albrighton (or at least one) to be placed on the bench. They deserve it.

Player to watch: Gabby, again!

This time Gabby, remember the goal is the other direction.

Match Facts & Stats

Music Time!
Yet again here at Vital Villa we go all current affairs (who said it`s all boobs, jokes and il-discipline.) Oasis were shunned when it came to producing the Crewe Alex Manchester City anthem "blue moon" (to be played tonight) in favour of The Doves. Whilst I do like a bit of Oasis, this is why the Doves are better!

Now, with that ringing through your ears, it`s time for some Manchester facts. The first ever edition of "Top of the Pops" was filmed in a church in Longsight, Manchester.

The City of Manchester stadium was originally a two-tier stadium for it`s use during the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Whilst I haven`t played at Eastlands, I have played where the 2002 Commonwealth Games Field Hockey finals were held at Belle Vue. We won!

Manchester is twinned with Wuhan, which is situated in the Hubei province of China. Wuhan Huanghelou, the Chinese Premier League team, have a coaching and commercial link with Bolton Wanderers.

I never went to Wuhan. I did however go to Xi`an, Shaanxi province. There was a cow standing in the drop-off area of the airport. Two cows in fact. (Photo evidence can be provided.)

Cows say Moo!

Ref Watch:

Chris Foy is the referee for tonight`s fixture, he comes from Merseyside and un-official reports suggest whenever there is an issue he shouts "eh eh eh calm down calm down!"

Mr Foy has averaged 3.6 yellow cards a game, and has remarkably sent off just one player, Stoke City`s Andy Wilkinson the unlucky recipient.

Match Prediction:

2-1 Villa, it`s going to be tough, but I`m going to damn well enjoy it!

Mug and Fear will be about soon I hope!

Next Fixtures:

Villa continue to push for top 4 glory the hard way, Spurs at home on Sunday 15th March! Who knows, maybe I will make the match!

Thanks for reading folks, ridiculous love is on the horizon, I just have to sent £500 to Russia! Feel free to comment below!

The Journalist

Writer: Murph Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday March 4 2009

Time: 2:37PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
lets hope its BOJINOV on song tonight and not BONJOVI lol good look villans after tonight game i honestly hope you get your top 4 spot which you deserve this season. all the best
Report Abuse
04/03/2009 15:03:00
In the immortal words of Colplay" Nobody said it'd be easy!!"
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04/03/2009 15:04:00
fabulous article, Murph! I'm gonna go for 2 - 0 villa, the boys are out of villa park, so they won't being feeling the heat quite so much. I hope to god we get all three tonight, otherwise I am gonna start worrying about the Arse.
Report Abuse
04/03/2009 15:15:00
Biggest game of the season bar none - I really think that if we do not get the 3 points we are going to miss out. Everton are doing very well and Arsenal are having a dodgy patch with us!! We need to be thereabouts with 6 games to go. By then we COULD be out of the running. Please please please win tonight - Carew just be unplayable and Gabby a hat-trick would be nice. Oh and MON when it looks like we may lose a lead - TAKE OF AN INEFFECTIVE STRIKER AND PUT ON A DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER OR A DEFENDER!!!
Report Abuse
04/03/2009 15:15:00
Thanks for the comments chaps, especially from the City folks. Keep it going!
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04/03/2009 15:18:00
Good work Murph, think there's a very good point about us changing things a bit too. I'd fancy putting Gabby on the left, with young in a free role behind Carew/Heskey. Its been a bit predictable lately and a change could be as good as a holiday (maybe not in Dubai though!!)
Report Abuse
04/03/2009 16:18:00
Gabby on the left? Jesus are taking some serious risks. Unfortunately (here's to him proving me wrong) Gabby needs dropping tbh. But we all know MON wouldn't dare.
Report Abuse
04/03/2009 16:28:00
I think we might see the 4-5-1 cum 4-3-3 tonight. Gabby up front, Ashley and Jimmy in support with Barry, Petrov and someone else in the middle.
Report Abuse
04/03/2009 16:41:00
Pace down the channels Murph, either that or like you say drop him all together, just not sure what we've got as back up. Delfonuoso looks good but still pretty raw and this is a BIG game, maybe Carew and Heskey if fit!!
Report Abuse
04/03/2009 16:46:00
I didn't want to criticise murph but I've always found your match previews poorly written and generally purile. I only say this now as this one is fabulous. Well done fella and keep up the good work, truly inspired!
Villan Of The North
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04/03/2009 17:33:00
great preview as usual Murph, very proud of some of the contributions from others on this site!
The Fear
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04/03/2009 17:44:00
Mystic mug says 1-0 to the Villa. Hurrah.
The Fear
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04/03/2009 17:51:00
You don't pay the contributors enough Fear!
Report Abuse
04/03/2009 18:43:00
I find it wonderful I mention Russia, and a C&C3 Red Alert advert sits below.
Report Abuse
04/03/2009 19:14:00
i think i can hear her singing....!!
Report Abuse
04/03/2009 21:51:00

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