A Frosty Reception Awaits (Preview)
There is just one way that I am able to effectively convey my views on the current weather conditions 'gripping' the United Kingdom.
'A little bit on the cool side.'
Villa travel up to Wigan having had their mid-week League Cup match cancelled due to the arctic conditions that we are all suffering from. The extra rest should prove handy against a side that diddled Villa on the opening day of the season, handing new boss Roberto Martinez victory in his first game in charge.
Bramble V Heskey!
Q.) Who said this? 'It is certainly the worst financial situation in my 13 years in English football. Professional football is about winning and balancing the budget.
'The rest is half-cheating. Other clubs have artificial income from owners. They do not live off the money from the game.
Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has been warmed by the turnaround his side have made since their dismal opening day 2-0 defeat. Speaking to avfc.co.uk, no doubt with the heating on full he said:
'We've improved considerably since then. That was a setback, there was a lot of doom and gloom around the place. I thought it was a little bit misplaced.
'However, the players have risen to the challenges ahead, they've gone with it and we now find ourselves in this position at this minute.
'Obviously we've had the disappointment of the Liverpool game. We've got to get that now to the back of our minds and as far as I'm concerned the second half of the season starts now.'
Despite the change in fortunes, pretty much for both sides O'Neill is still wary of the threat posed by Martinez's men:
'They are difficult to beat and I think they are capable of causing plenty of problems.
'I'm hoping that we are up for the task, just trying to win the game will be the most important issue for us.'
On the pie-side of life, Wig-Wam boss Roberto Martinez is excited by the prospect of coming up against an Aston Villa side pushing for Champions League football. Speaking to the official club website Martinez said:
'Villa are in a great moment right now, and are still in both the FA and League Cup competitions. They've got some outstanding individuals, players who can win a game with one single action and that's why concentration is going to be absolutely vital. At the back they're very strong with plenty of experience and I think as a team they are very well balanced.
'So it's important that we keep them very quiet, but we also need to be ourselves, perform at our best and make sure we dictate the play. This is the moment to collect all the good things we've done from the first-half of the campaign, put them together and show that consistency that is needed if we want to keep progressing.'
So it seems everyone saying the same thing. It's halfway through, got to build on the first-half successes, small boys in the park, jumpers for goalposts? Who's that standing offside? It's an old man in a trenchcoat. Quick, run for it lads! Isn't it? Hmm.
Wigan Athletic Team News:
Wigan are set to name new signing Vladimir Stojkovic at least on the bench, although there are doubts on the fitness of Chris Kirkland so the 26-year-old Serbian goalkeeper may well make his Premier League debut on Saturday. Paul Scharner, Jordi Gomez, Charles N'Zogbia and Emerson Boyce are all set to return to the team.
Player to watch: Titus Bramble
Titus Bramble is always good for a laugh. The only problem is the last few years he's stopped making quite so many daft errors.
Aston Villa Team News:
Villa are set to welcome Fabian Delph and James Milner back to the first team squad now that they are feeling a little bit better. Villa have no new injury worries confirmed, although Luke Young sat out training having gone over on ones ankle. I'd imagine we'll have an unchanged side from the last Premier League match.
Salifou is sadly absent through African Cup of Nations duty.
Player to watch: Brad Friedel
Will he be a tough guy? Will he wear a hat? If so, a bobble hat? The old man can't possibly be warm in his weather, especially having no hair!
Match Facts & Stats
It absolutely had to be hadn't it?
A serious travel warning from Vital Villa
Folks, you are all aware that the weather conditions at the moment aren't what we are normally used to. Take extra care and time when travelling to and from the DW stadium. Mr Fear will be angry if his page views reduce due to ice-related deaths of Vital Villa members.
Also, wrap up warm as temperatures aren't expected to get above freezing!
Titus Bramble is, like the weather, cool as ****! Born in Ipswich, he amassed 48 games for his hometown team, 105 for Newcastle and already 80 for Wigan. He has however never played for England.
There's a reason for that mind you, he's not very good.
The DW Stadium, formally the JJB, was constructed in 1999. They share the ground with a club of grown men who hug each other and chase eggs. It's a strange sport, but someone likes it. It was designed by Alfred McAlpine, who also did the Galpharam Stadium, Huddersfield. It was formally named after its designer.
I believe Villa Park is set to be re-named the Jonathan Fear Arena, though these reports are not confirmed just yet!
If someone can let me know who the ref is going to be (not that anyone really cares) then it would be appreciated!
42-0 to the Villa!
Next up for Villa, the re-arranged League Cup Semi-Final First-Leg Foot-Ball game against Blackburn Rovers @ Blackburn on the 14th.
Thanks for reading folks. Do try to keep warm, or at least drink until you feel a warm feeling in your legs?