Aston Villa has pretty much sold out every game at Villa Park this season and yet there are said to be around 1,500 tickets left for our Semi-Final game with Leicester. No doubt more will be sold between now and kicked off. But this leads me to my question; Just how important is this game to Villa? And would the fans prefer Premier League survival over another trip to Wembley?
I believe I am in the minority when I say I would love cup success. Most people I speak to say they would prefer League survival but cup success is different for me. Yes, people will remember this season but I believe a Cup win lives with a football fan forever.
Just look at how many supporters loved our playoff success. For many younger fans, this was the greatest day of their Aston Villa supporting lives. If we rewind about 6-7 years ago, may of us would have laughed at the thought of that. Now, we find ourselves just 90 minutes away from the prospect of League Cup success. Wouldnt we be foolish to overlook this?
Enough of that debate anyway and onto the actual game. Villa will have to be at their best should we have any chance of progression. We proved at the King Power Stadium a couple of weeks ago that we are capable of competing.
However, we have seen in our other game against Leicester, the 1-4 defeat at Villa Park earlier this season that it could go a completely other way.
TEAM NEWS & INJURY UPDATE
Dean Smith was pleased to announce that he has a virtually fully fit squad to choose from apart from our long term injuries. Keinan Davis is back in training following a lengthy layoff and it appears is now an option for selection.
New striker Mbwana Samatta, has also had a full week training with the squad meaning Villa have gone from not having a striker to choose from to have two available!
Leicester will have Jamie Vardy available for selection. The 33-year-old striker missed the FA Cup game at the weekend and it was thought that he could be out for a lengthy period.
Brenden Rodgers men will be without Papy Mendy and Wes Morgan who will have further tests to see the extent of their injuries.
LEICESTER KEY PLAYER
It was a toss-up between Vardy and James Maddison but I will go with Vardy. Despite being 33-years-old he is still arguably the most in-form England striker this season. The striker has scored 17 goals this campaign and no doubt this will continue to rise.
A statistic that may surprise a lot of people is, he also has one more assist this season than Morrison!
THOUGHTS ON LEICESTER
I used to regard Leicester during the Robbie Savage years as the annoying neighbours from across the Midlands. However, my views have changed.
What they achieved in 2016 is something as a football fan, I can only look on with envy. Their fans still sing about the achievement and so they should. The football they play under Brendon Rodgers is also a good watch. I just hope they have an off day come kick-off time!
It is an awkward team to predict. I believe Smith will go strong but he has had to make do with certain players of late due to injury issues.
(3-4-2-1) Nyland; Hause, Mings, Konsa; Elmohammady, Hourihane, Nakamba, Targett; Grealish, El Ghazi; Samatta.
Apart from the obvious change of Nyland coming in, as I believe he is our cup goalkeeper, there aren’t too many changes to talk about. I expect Samatta will be thrown straight in as Smith will want him up to pace as soon as possible.
Ahmed Elmohammady and Conor Hourihane are the other two changes purely down to squad rotation.