Villa V Blues Preview!
St.Andrews Galactic Stadium
Those pesky pigs in mud are back again, and this time it's General...school.
It's the big one for Villa fans worldwide, on and Blues fans in er, well just Birmingham. The derby has a long long long history, mostly of Villa glory though having gone through a slight wildnerness period of red cards and keeper gaffs, Martin O'Neill led us back to glory, although the man who fired the opening salvo, now lines up in the dark blue of our rivals.
The pot has been well and truly stirred by Birmingham's supremo David Gold dragging up an argument that even the most lazy of journalistic hacks had no doubt forgotten again, until now.
What more is there to say for an intro other than it's Villa, it's Birmingham City, no "sit down potato head" :-( but you'll love the music this week, so in the words once of Cleveland Brown..
Martin O'Neill on avfc.co.uk:
"I remember those derbies two seasons ago like they were yesterday.
"What an incredible 60 seconds in the first at St. Andrew's. Gabby cleared the ball off the line and then scored the winner for us at the other end. He was a real hero that day and that minute of action just about encapsulates everything you need to know about a derby.
"I just relish the intensity. It lived up to everything I expected the last time around.
"In the second game at Villa Park, we played particularly well on the day, scored some goals and it was just a brilliant performance. If that's anything to go by, it should keep our spirits high.
"But it's a different game at St Andrew's and time has moved on since that fantastic day. It's a new day."
Bizzarely, Martin then added a comment about defeat? Strange!
"If you win them it's great, if you lose you are despondent for much, much longer than normal. I just think that's the nature of it."
None of that defeat talk Mr O'Neill, we're talking positives here and even I will (temporarily) call you the Messiah!
Club captain Stiliyan Petrov took on the Olof Mellberg role of stoking the fire, speaking of his opposite number, and former Rangers Rival Barry Ferguson:
"I am very good friends with Barry."
Hmm, maybe not.
Carlos Cuellar is hungry, not for pies, but a derby match as he too added his two penneth to the derby day debate on avfc.co.uk:
"I'm looking forward to it because I experienced a similar thing when I played for Rangers against Celtic,' said Cuellar.
"It's a very important game for the club and for the supporters and it is very important to win this game.
"When I played for Osasuna when you went to play against Atletico Bilbao or Real Sociedad it was the same because it is close and they have a big support.
"The atmosphere will be very good. I think these are the best games to play in the league."
That's the spirit!
Sadly I have to look at the other side of things, and I have to start with Mr Gold.
What were you thinking?
Speaking of the Pigs in Mud saga (sadly those pigs have since snuffed it due to Swine Flu) he said:
"If the General is there at the game, then he will get the opportunity. If he doesn`t then I`m a big boy, I will get on with my life.
"If I was his dad, I would suggest he goes up to the chairman and shakes his hand.
''But I guess I don`t know what they teach you at General School when it comes to admitting if you are wrong."
There's no such thing as "General School" Mr Gold just as there is no Muppet School, however if there was such thing as a School for Muppets, I dare say you'd be a star pupil.
Anyways, moving on...
Alex Mcleish believes his side will be more tactically aware than the last time the two sides met as he told the Birmingham City official website:
"Maybe tactically we went too open against them but we were in a precarious position in the league and I thought if we could get a victory against Villa then it would give us enormous confidence but, of course, the drubbing against our big rivals was very disappointing."
The Scot believes his side can compete with anyone, something which may not be that true on reflection, come the end of the season. He did however warble:
"I'm confident that we can compete with anybody. I'm not saying they will beat everybody but I feel that they've got the spirit and determination and there's no lack of skill, as we witnessed at Spurs in the second half a couple of weeks ago."
Birmingham City Team News:
Birmingham's new signing Christian Benitez is set for a debut start in derby day, usually I'd say that risky business but scroll down a tad to see our own team news!
Teeny Tiny-O (or words to that effect) hopes to be fit for the game.
Maik Taylor this week said he hoped for a return to the starting Xi sometime soon, however quite frankly the Northern Irish international is kidding himself, lolz!
Player to watch: Lee Bowyer
Games like this are made for Lee Bowyer.
Hopefully he will resort to type and not actually feature in much of it!
Aston Villa Team News:
The media are suggesting it could be a debutant back four (with the exception of Beye) however I think what is more realistic is that Richard Dunne and Stephen Warnock will make their Claret and Blue bows.
Luke Young may be back, but not sure on that one. Bouma is still long-term injured, as is hop-along Downing.
Other than that I'd fully expect it to be as you were boys, with Emile Heskey a doubt following his international exploits.
Player to watch: Richard Dunne
With Davies out, Richard Dunne will need to hit the ground running (well, he'll need to be running, not sure he can hit the ground and run!)
Match Facts & Stats
Words cannot describe, it's perfect (and you get to sing along!) Enjoy!
Emile Heskey remains Birmingham City's record signing according to the BBC-No Joke!
Emile Heskey also has roller-skates for feet.
Birmingham City have lost their last 4 fixtures against Villa, nice stat that!
Birmingham City fans have unofficially decided that Sunday's match will be a fancy dress, the theme is "empty seats m'lord."
When the site for St.Andrews was being considered, director Harry Morris described the area as a wilderness of stagnant water and muddy slopes.' Some would say that nothing has changed.
Jasper Carrott is a famous Bluenose, as is er, Mike Skinner. Both of which are about as good as that day you found out Santa wasn't real.
Howard Webb is the on-pitch-enforcement-manager for the tie. Mr Webb has already managed 7 cards in two Premier League matches. Not a bad tally! Howard will no doubt require a card or two on the sabbath!
As I said in the forums, 82-0 Villa.
Troubled Pompey come up to Villa Park for the 3pm Saturday fixture on the 19th of this month.
Thanks for reading folks, sorry it's late, here's to a Villa victory!