Date: 12th February 2010 at 3:49pm
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I feel I must apologise for forgetting that there was a mid-week game of football and therefore not doing a match day preview. That said, seemingly, Martin O`Neill forgot that Manchester United actually had a player sent off within 40 minutes during Wednesday`s 1-1 draw with their Carling Cup Final opponents.

Prior to the game, we`d all have taken the point that the claret & blue heroes came away with. The only problem is that United had one player less following Nani`s desperate attempt to allow Villa captain Stan Petrov to have a rest by injuring him even beyond our managers warped 1970`s view.

Like flares and the Bee Gees, you have to ponder the exact moment Martin O`Neill will bring himself (at least) into the 90`s.

Whilst talking years, it`s been a massive 53 years since Villa`s last FA Cup glory and the Villans travel onto the big smoke to take on a Palace side that has probably by now had it`s Crystal repossessed.

It`s Villa
Thought of Ocean Finance?

* Please note this is a romance free preview

Vital Quotes:

Who said this?

“There is only one way to play football – that is to win games and be efficient.”

Villa boss Martin O`Neill is keen to avoid any potential distraction that would come from departing London minus the place in the 6th round. Monny, going for the win said:

“If it comes it comes, we really can`t do anything about it. Maybe that might just be a sign of the side doing well.
“In an ideal world it would be great to have a free week, but we are not in the choice business. The Palace game will be very difficult for us.
“Crystal Palace are fighting for their lives. It`s a great opportunity for them, a great opportunity to keep the club going and they`ll be looking forward to it. It`s a game that`s very much in balance.”

In balance, strange, given the fact that we are the Premier League side and they…aren`t!

When talking about one of his babbies, MON was full of praise for the former Leeds youngster Fabian Delph, who put in an inspired performance as a 5th midfielder against Manchester United. Speaking to Sky Sports News O`Neill said:

“He is going to be a proper player and, against a top-notch side, I thought he looked reasonably well at home.
“Fabian is still only 20 but has got a lot of ability, and a lot of potential, and that is what a lot of clubs saw in him.
“Yes, it has been awkward for him. His problem was playing regularly in a side, then stepping up a couple of divisions and playing irregularly in terms of the first team.”

Delph himself put erm, himself, across as a rather respectable young man innit. Speaking on the game, still clutching his favourite “blanky” the Villa youngster giggled:

“Manchester United are a great side, have great players and they’re the champions. For me to be playing against them was a pleasure.

“It was a massive difference to playing against Brighton. Everyone is fit, stronger and more knowledgeable upstairs. You could see that.”

“It was a big boost to be picked for a league game. It shows the manager has confidence in my ability and that does a lot for me.

“I’m still 20, I don’t think you can ever stop improving and hopefully I can keep pushing on and it will be brilliant if I am selected Sunday and can play back-to-back games – but it’s up to the manager.”

Still 20, as if he was expecting a change that did not happen?


I don`t like talking about Neil Warnock. Some of his quotes that he comes out with can be genius, but the vast majority of the time he does strike me as the angry man trying to get those ‘ruffians` to stop standing outside his garage. Prior to the cup tie however he has been in inspired mood, threatening his own squad with death should they concede early.

“We`re ready to give them a run for their money – as long as we don`t give them an early goal like we did to Swansea.”

“If you do that with Villa you`re dead.”

Seems a bit over the top, although it is rumoured that part of O`Neill`s half time talk mid-week may or may not have included “if you concede again, your heads will fall off.”

In other Palace news, the bearded wonder has spoken of a potential interest in taking over the club. Surprisingly Olof Mellberg Richard Branson has emerged as a suitor for a company somewhat lacking finances.

“We are always happy to have a look but I think the chances are less likely than likely. If they are for sale, then we are always happy to have a look.”

Crystal Palace Team News:

Matt Lawrence and Claude Davis are both struggling to be fit having missed Palace`s last league game. Lee Hills is cup tied.

Player to watch: Julian Speroni

Speroni was a goalkeeper kept out of the Crystal Palace side by former Aston Villa emergency loanee Gabor Kiraly. Since the end of Gabor Speroni has come into his element as the Palace number 1 netminder!

Aston Villa Team News:

According to Martian O`Neill, there are a number of injury worries ahead of the weekends cup action. Gabby Agbonlahor and Stan Petrov are both struggling with injuries picked up during midweek action.

Emile Heskey and Stephen Warnock may well pop back into contention. I`d expect a few of the fringe players to get a run out. Rumours that Salifou is going to be employed in the ‘target man` role are unfounded!

Player to watch: Delphino

Delphino was in inspired form and put our other midfielders to shame with a mature performance midweek before the insult of being the “make way for Sidwell!”

Match Facts & Stats

A classic so stop, collaborate and listen!

In the words of Father Jack…I`m so…sooooo, sorry!

If they had hair, I believe that Gabby Agbonlahor and Ashley Young could well become the next Jedward. It only remains to ask why Gashley haven`t release a cup final song yet.

The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and glass building constructed within Hyde Park to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. Notable exhibitors included the first ever pay-to-pee toilet, the precursory to the Fax Machine and the modern day camera, not to mention an envelope machine.

Watching Bolton may have been more interesting.

The football team have been going since 1905. Their home since 1922 has been Selhurst Park, which formally was home to Wimbledon FC before their much publicised and semi-pointless move to Milton Keynes.

Milton Keynes will be a World Cup 2018 venue should England be successful. It is believed that visitors to the tournament from around the world will visit MK due to it`s large amount of roundabouts…

American`s attempting to use roundabouts are f*****g hilarious!

Ref Watch:

Well we`re all going to have to be nice as the ref is our Friend! I can see the man being hilarious in a cup tie against lower league opposition. In his last game, well he sent off Rocha, Cattermole, Meyler (two minutes after he came on) AND Avram Grant

Match Prediction:

472,000 – 12 to the Villa.

Next Fixtures:

Burnley at home on the 21st of this month!