They say that the FA Cup is all about dreams. Aston Villa meets Swansea City for the third time this season and will be hoping to make it three wins on the bounce. Can we win the FA Cup outright? Probably not but in the words of Ron Saunders, do you want to bet against us?
The game is an opportunity for fans and players alike to switch off from the day to day stuff of the Championship. The FA Cup is all about the magic. Let’s hope that Dean Smith can help inspire his Villa side to glory and put our names into the draw for the fourth round.
Despite already beating Swansea twice this season, it is a game that should not be taken likely. They are a very unpredictable side who are capable of beating anyone at our level on their given day.
The Swans sit 12th in the Championship, just two places and points behind Villa. They have picked up 7 points from a possible 15 during their last five games.
Swansea fans have expressed that they would like their side to have a go in this year’s FA Cup. They feel that they are good enough so they don’t have to worry about relegation, while the playoffs aren’t possible with their squad.
ONE TO WATCH
My one to watch this week may come as a surprise, Nathan Dyer. I don’t expect Graham Potter to field his first team meaning the experienced Dyer could come in.
The 31-year-old has struggled for games this season so will want to make a statement. He has Premiership experience and his pace could cause problems for Villa’s struggling defence.
Aston Villa are expected to hand a debut to new goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic. He now has his International clearance and is raring to get going.
Henri Lansbury and Neil Taylor are available and could come into the side should Smith choose to rest some after a busy Christmas period.
Villa will be without Tammy Abraham who is not able to play in the FA Cup as part of his loan agreement. Jack Grealish, Axel Tuanzebe and Ørjan Nyland will all miss the game through injury.
Swansea have a virus currently going through their squad. Wilfried Bony, Oli McBurnie and Jefferson Montero all missed training this week and will be assessed before the game.
Martin Olsson and Tom Carrol are long-term injuries.
I expect there to be major changes for both sides from the usual Championship teams although neither club has confirmed that players will be rested.
HEAD TO HEAD
Aston Villa have only come up against Swansea on 29 occasions in all competitions. Villa has won 17, Swansea 9 and 3 have ended all square.
Villa have beaten Swansea twice already this season. Before that, they had only won 1 in 11 games against the Swans (D 3, L 7).
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Predicted XI: Kalinic; Taylor, Reven, Elphick, Bree; Lansbury, Whelan, O’Hare; El Ghazi, Adomah; Hogan.
Kick Off: 15.00
Tickets: Estimated 36,000.