What a difference a week makes! Not so long ago, I was complaining about how bad the performance against Sunderland was and suggested that playing Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park would be Garde’s best opportunity to get a win under his belt, albeit in the FA Cup.
Unfortunately, an underwhelming 1-1 result at Adams Park meant that a replay will have to be played at Villa Park tonight. The original game won’t be remembered for the score or for what happened on the pitch; it will be remembered for what happened after the game.
Unhappy with the result and yet another poor Villa performance, a few fans made their feelings known by getting up close and personal with some of the Villa players on the bench, to ask them a few burning questions. Micah Richards, to his credit, took the time to speak to the fans about Villa’s plight.
“Where’s the passion, lad?” asked one of the supporters, who was clearly upset.
“We’re trying,” replied Richards, adding, “We need to be in this together. Do you think all this negativity is helping? It’s not.”
Richards was right, although some of the supporters’ actions may in fact have made a difference. Seeing fans’ displeasure may have sparked a desire inside some players to do better, as we’ve enjoyed a very good week by our standards.
Tonight, we entertain Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup third round replay. The winners of this tie will go on to face Manchester City in the next round.
Venue: Villa Park
Date: Tuesday 19th January 2016
Referee: Craig Pawson
Tickets: Still available to home supporters, priced from £10 for adults and £5 for children
For the home side, the game may come too early for Alan Hutton, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury.
Carlos Sánchez looks set to return to action, as does Jack Grealish, who has trained this week after missing a few games with tonsillitis.
Gabby Agbonlahor will be assessed ahead of the game but, as the club reported, he seems to be carrying a back injury, although sceptics believe that he’s not playing in case he gets injured as he may be sold this window.
Wycombe Wanderers welcomed influential striker Paul Hayes back as a substitute at the weekend.
Marcus Bean has also recovered from a long term ankle ligament injury this week and may be ready for selection.
The danger men:
Striker Garry Thompson will be the man to look out for. Despite being thirty-five, he remains Wycombe Wanderers’ danger man. The Chairboys will look to the get the ball up front to him as soon as possible so our defenders will need to be wary of Thompson, who has scored six goals in the league so far.
Defender Michael Harriman has bagged five goals in the league so the Villans will have to be attentive to his threat from set pieces.
Aaron Pierre was voted Wycombe Wanderers’ man of the match in the original fixture by various news outlets – and rightly so. He had a very good game and kept the Villa front line quiet, despite the visitors having the lion’s share of the possession. He will also be one to look out for.
The Chairboys’ form was decent. However, they seem to have tailed off a bit in the last week. This fixture may have played on the minds of a few players as Wycombe faltered to a loss against Hartlepool on the weekend. Their last five games read L D L W W.
Their away form, however, seems to be better. They’ve managed three wins in their last five away games, losing two: L W W L W.
Aston Villa’s fortunes have seem to have changed for the better in the short term, as the team is unbeaten in the last three games in all competitions. The home side will definitely be looking for the win here and, with new found confidence, Garde’s men may give the home faithful something to cheer about. The Villa boys have drawn two, won one and lost two of their last five home games in the league: D W D L L.