West Brom v Villa
21 September 2008
The wait is nearly over. West Brom play host to Villa this Sunday and hopes are high that the Baggies could gain their first win over the old enemy since 1985.
Villa are being touted as possible Champions League qualifiers this season and the Baggies are being tipped for relegation but all that counts for nothing in this, the oldest of local derbies.
There are side issues to this match as well, Scott Carson and Luke Moore are players that were let go by Aston Villa and they both will surely want to prove Martin O'Neill wrong but Curtis Davies' move across the Midlands is what most Baggies fans will be concentrating on.
For all Curtis Davies' promise when he was signed he actually gave very little to the cause. He was part of the team that was relegated in the great surrender season and then he was injured for much of the following season which saw Albion lose out on promotion in the Play off final against Derby County. Then following his recovery from injury at the beginning of Albion's promotion winning season he demanded a move (obviously, he had earned a move with his gallant fight for the cause) and his 'dream' move was granted on transfer deadline day with an initial loan move followed by a final £11 million transfer to the more money than sense Villans. Davies has since spent a good chunk of his Villa career on the sidelines. The weight of his oversized ego contributing greatly to his injury problems.
Enough about the 'pub player' Davies the game promises to be an exciting one with both sides committed to attack. Although Aston Villa's side is rather more direct than Tony Mowbray's artists.
Speaking about Villa's threat Tony Mowbray said:
'Villa are a very good football team with some very good players and they know what they're all about.'
'I can see the wide players putting balls in the box, the controlled central midfield players who know what to do with the ball and the central defenders being big and strong and dominant'
'We shouldn't fear them but we should be aware of their strengths'.
West Brom Team News:
With the exception of Neil Clement and Felipe Teixeira Tony Mowbray has a fully fit squad to choose from. Ziuverloon should come in for Hoefkins but Bednar should keep his place ahead of Miller. It remains to be seen whether Olsson has done enough to keep his place ahead of the fit again Meite.
Team (from): Carson, Kiely, Zuiverloon, Hoefkens, Meite, Barnett, Donk, Olsson, Robinson, Cech, Morrison, Greening, Koren, Kim, Valero, Brunt, Miller, Bednar, Moore, Beattie, Slusarski, MacDonald, Pele, Dorrans.
Player to watch: Roman Bednar
Bednar will love this type of match and I am sure he will enjoy competing against Villa's two big centre halves.
Aston Villa Team News:
This is Villa's third game in the space of seven days and fatigue could be a problem. However, O'Neill was able to rest some players for the match in Bulgaria.
Carew, Davies and Young are all expected to return.
Player to watch: Ashley Young
Young's pace is something that could trouble the Baggies, however with the return of Zuiverloon I expect that this will be less of a problem.
Match Facts & Stats
Albion have beaten Villa 50 times in 153 games and Villa have triumphed 71 times. That's gap that surely needs to be closed and the sooner the better.
Mike Dean - awful ref
2-1 to the Baggies. Bednar and Miller to settle it.
Tony Mowbray returns to his roots with a trip to the Riverside and a match against Middlesbrough on 27 September for a 3 O'Clock kick off.