We go into this game hoping the team rectifies the dismal display in Manchester last week where we were both outfought and out thought with individual errors not helping matters. This Villa side we come up against have troubles of their own and currently sit in 19th position in the table having recently appointed cockney gobshite Tim Sherwood as manager in an attempt to turn their fortunes around. Hopefully the Saturday 3 o’clock factor will help towards a better atmosphere at the game but the chances are this will be negated by the apathetic mood created by the boring style of football which is being maintained by a caretaker manager who has left us in no doubt that he is advertising himself to Mike Ashley as the ‘continuity candidate’.
This game sees the welcome return of Jonas Gutierrez to the first team squad and although it is unlikely we will see him back on the pitch for this game, it would be a remarkable achievement and an emotional moment for all involved given his struggles with illness if he manages to find himself back on the St. James’ turf. Thankfully, Daryl Janmaat has been passed fit which for the meantime avoids us having to field either a kid or a player like Anita at right back which in many ways would prove how absurd our penny pinching measures really are.
It will be interesting to see if the 4-3-3 with Perez outwide is continued given the way he has struggled to get into the game in recent weeks, I’m still convinced that his best position is in a free role behind a frontman. Obertan may be in the fray for this one considering we’re really missing an outball at the moment, Gouffran and Cabella don’t hold the same counter attacking threat old alienheed does. My calls for Colback to be rested/dropped seem to be null and void now he’s been suspended for two games and will surely introduce Abeid into midfield, I personally wouldn’t mind going for the throat of a Villa side lacking in confidence and play a midfield four of Abeid, Sissoko, Cabella and Obertan.
In regards to Villa they’re hampered by the suspension of their captain Ron Vlaar which will leave them looking soft in the centre with Ciaran Clark still dodgy in my eyes alongside Nathan Baker in all likelihood. Villa’s strength lies in their pace on the counter and it is the only thing we should realistically worry about from this side, again this is a match where we should focus on how we can hurt the opposition rather than worry about their threat.
Likely Line Ups:
NUFC (4-2-3-1) Krul; Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Haidara; Abeid, Sissoko; Obertan, Cabella, Perez; Cisse.
Villa (4-3-3) Guzan; Hutton, Clark, Baker, Cisshoko; Westwood, Gil, Delph; Agbonlahor, Sinclar, Benteke.
NUFC 1 Villa 0 February 2014 – A pretty dull game was settled by the one piece of composure seen that day, with Loic Remy controlling a ball in the box, waiting for the keeper to make the first move and finishing into the goal at the Gallowgate end.
NUFC 6 Villa 0 August 2010 – Our first home game back in the top flight couldn’t have went any better as the supporters who laughed when we were relegated saw their side given a real hiding on a day when Andy Carroll announced himself to a wider audience.
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