Writer: Lord Shepherd
Date:Saturday January 10 2009
10 January 2009
Before Albion's demise in the 80's this was the big game for all Baggies fans and for many it is still the fixture that they would most like to win, ahead of any game against fake Black Country rivals Wolves.
Villa fans will go into the game feeling hugely confident and no doubt expecting a win following their earlier defeat of Albion at the Hawthorns. The 2-1 in the reverse fixture was mainly down to West Brom's inability to defend against big John Carew and then being unable to score more than one goal in a game. However, things have changed since then, Carew is not fit for the game and the Baggies' strikers have all found the net recently and managed to score twice against Spurs and Man City. Another thing to consider is that the Villa team, despite its lofty position, is starting to show signs of cracking, niggling injuries are creeping in and their last two performances have been far from impressive. So there is a little hope.
There is so much rubbish spoken about these games, Curtis Davies you stand accused, that this week we will let the players do the talking on the pitch.
Villa have doubts still over Barry but he is likely to start and Agbhonlahor will no doubt have recovered from his cold. Laursen and Cuellar probably won't be able to make it so Curtis Davies and Zat Knight will again be partnered at centre of defence.
Villa (from): Friedel, Guzan, Reo-Coker, Cuellar, Knight, Davies, Laursen, L Young, Shorey, Milner, Gardner, Petrov, Sidwell, Barry, A Young, Osbourne, Salifou, Agbonlahor, Delfouneso, Harewood.
Ashley Young's pace and deadball delivery can create problems for any team and the Albion defence will have to be careful not to give him the opportunity to take a fall in and around the area.
West Brom will again be without long term absentees Neil Clement and Ishmael Miller whilst Meite again misses the Midlands derby.
On the positive side Zuiverloon, Morrison and Teixeira are all in contention again.
Baggies (from): Carson, Barnett, Olsson, Cech, Valero, Greening, Brunt, Moore, Bednar, Simpson, Robinson, Koren, Dorrans, Hoeskens, Beattie, Kiely, Do-Heon Kim, Morrison, Zuiverloon, Teixeira, Donk.
Surely this is the stage for Luke Moore to make himself a hero amongst the Albion fans.
The heart says a Baggies win and the head says a loss so 1-1 is the prediction.
Middlesbrough visit the Hawthorns on 17 January.
Date:Saturday January 10 2009
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