Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United – The Preview!

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Just when Paul Lambert was perhaps starting to get fans back on side, he came out with a comment that was as embarrassing as it was disheartening: in his press conference for the Sheffield United game, Lambert stated that the FA Cup is something he believes a lot of top flight managers could do without. This is a view that has not gone down well with fans, pundits or former players.

It may be the case that Lambert is under pressure to deliver and if we do lose tomorrow then he has already gotten his excuses in early. However, the lack of ambition displayed by our manager is sure to increase the pressure on him from Villa fans up and down the country when tomorrow would have been the perfect opportunity to regain the support of the Villa Park masses by winning comfortably for once on home turf.

Following on from a mixed bag of results over the Christmas period, there is the chance of a potential FA Cup run, regardless of what Lambert, says as Villa take on League One side Sheffield United tomorrow afternoon. The former Premier League side find themselves struggling somewhat in their division but, under the guidance of Nigel Clough, the Blades will sense a upset could be on the cards come 5p.m. on Saturday evening.

The return of Christian Benteke has given the Villa Park faithful a boost and his impressive display against Sunderland on New Year’s Day was the strongest hint yet that he could be close to returning to the form that we saw him produce towards the end of last season. The return to that form is now vital as Libor Kozak has suffered a broken leg in training and will miss the remainder of the season, which is a big blow indeed.

Many Villa fans will now be looking to see whether or not a replacement striker will be brought in this transfer window to replace the giant Czech who has made a good start to his Villa career and has already became a favourite with the Villa fans.

Another expectation of Villa fans is the signing of one or two ‘experienced heads’ who can give ‘the other lads a hand’ both in the dressing room and on the pitch, players Lambert has identified as targets for this transfer window.

Projected Team:

A mixture of changes and players needing match time to improve their fitness (and to return to scoring in Benteke’s case) will make up the starting XI that takes to the field tomorrow for the third round of the cup against Sheffield United. Fringe players such as Jed Steer, Yacouba Sylla, Aleksander Tonev and Karim El Ahmadi will more than likely come in to the team, offering them a chance to impress while out of favour striker Nicklas Helenius could be given his first start in a Villa shirt, which could help him prove that his time at Villa can be successful.

Christian Benteke could also be selected as he looks to get back to full match fitness ahead of a series of difficult Premier League matches following the FA Cup game this Saturday. The Belgian striker will also be looking to get back on the goal trail as he is currently going through something of a drought by his standards and he will be keen to rediscover his form in time for the World Cup next summer.

Libor Kozak has joined other long term absentee, Jores Okore, on the treatment table after he suffered a broken leg in an inconspicuous training ground accident with Ciaran Clark on Thursday which has put an end to the Czech striker’s season.

Players in training ahead of the FA Cup third round tie
Players in training ahead of the FA Cup third round tie

The Opposition:

Sheffield United come in to this game having lost just once in their last nine outings: a New Year’s Day defeat to another Midlands side, Walsall, saw Nigel Clough’s team taste defeat for the first time in quite a while.

The Blades faced Villa in the FA Cup a few seasons ago, with Gerard Houllier’s team emerging victorious that day with goals coming from Kyle Walker, Marc Albrighton and Stiliyan Petrov.

The red half of Sheffield do not have any injuries for the game and, following on from Paul Lambert’s comments about the FA Cup being something of a burden, Nigel Clough will have set his sights firmly on a Cup upset and progress to the fourth round of the cup.

Game Information:

Venue: Villa Park
Kick off: 3p.m.
Tickets: There are still tickets available for the game tomorrow. Prices start from £10 for adults and £5 for children.
Referee: David Coote
Last meeting: Sheffield United 1-3 Aston Villa (2010)

Predictions:

Aston Villa 1-0 Sheffield United – @MrOMeara
Aston Villa 2-0 Sheffield United – Mark Lawrenson

4 COMMENTS

  1. What ridiculous comments from our manager. Does he not understand the history of our club an the expectations of our supporters? Aston Villa and the Fa cup have been wrapped together since the beginning. It’s a long time now since we won it but EVERY villa fan longs to win it agai. Come on Paul get your act together an try to understand the proud history an expectations of the villa park faithful.

    • B7AV
      Dead right. If the players have this attitude then Villa will never hold another trophy, but I don’t believe they do. And on hearing this stupid comment, why should we the supporters even bother to go and watch us in the cup. We lost . . . . .No surprises there then !

  2. What ever Lambert may think and for what ever reason the FA cup means a lot to supporters, and also the players. This is the sort of game to get Benteke scoring again and his name should be first on the list. It is my belief every game should be set out to win and your strongest side fielded as much as possible. Midfield should have the players to give Benteke that chance and Gabby should also be there.
    Good luck Villa

  3. Not sure wether Mr Lambert’s wishes came true or not, either way, we got beat by a team 18th in the 1st Div who lost to Walsall the week before. The writing is on the wall again and if changes are not made soon we are in trouble again. There is talk about Wes Hoolahan from Norwich which may help, I think we need a lot more help than that. To start with we need someone more solid centre back, Joleon Lescott on loan from Man City if possible, is a must. Up front Weimann is doing no better than Benteke and should be replaced, Shane Long from Albion, or try and tempt Jermaine Defoe on loan from Spurs. Left back needs replacing, by who I don’t know, Sheffield were running past our defence too easily.

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