MATCH PREVIEW: Blues V Aston Villa – The Second City Derby

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Birmingham City vs Aston Villa
2017/18 EFL Championship
Date: Sunday, 29st October 2017
Kick Off: 12:00 UK
Venue: St. Andrew’s Stadium

David Davis scored for Blues in a 1-1 draw against Villa at Home last season
David Davis scored for Blues in a 1-1 draw against Villa at Home last season

Birmingham City now have the challenge of going toe-to-toe with our bitter local rivals in the Second-City derby. The game will be contested on Home soil and the visitors will be making the short journey to St. Andrew’s, and they’ll be raring to go in order to claim the win and name themselves “the pride of Brum” for another 3-4 months.

However, we certainly aren’t a bunch of mugs, and we will need to stay strong and put on a good show against the Villans, and snatch the 3 points that are up for grabs. But doing so will be anything but a walk in the park, with a 2-0 loss out at The Den last Saturday putting a sour patch in our form. The result against Millwall wasn’t an easy one to take, as we struggled to find ourselves with any clear-cut chances against the Lions, and with the somewhat opportunities that did come our way, we didn’t take to the best of our abilities. Despite this though, a new challenge is set before us, and we must do anything to get the ball over Sam Johnstone’s goal line.

The last time we played Villa at Home, a well battled affair panned out to be a mightily good watch, as both sides shared a point and smiles were somewhat equal on many faces of both sets of supporters. But tomorrow’s game will be on a whole new level, where both teams will be as fierce as ever, as Blues practically have a fully fit team to face up against Steve Bruce’s boys. And hopefully under the circumstances, we can make it two wins from three for Steve Cotterill since he was appointed as head coach earlier this month.

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Cotts has had a fairly decent approach to his new role at the club, with a win against Cardiff City being the opening taster of his revolution at Birmingham, as we held off the current top of the table side and managed to prevent the Bluebirds from even registering a shot on target. But a headache was to follow for Cotts a week later, as we somehow found ourselves making the dreaded journey Home with a loss to our status. But tomorrow, we need to see the side that won comfortably against Neil Warnock’s bunch, and do all our heart’s desire, and that is to take the maximum amount of points in the big game.

Che scores in a 1-0 win over Cardiff
Che scores in a 1-0 win over Cardiff

The away side have had a good beginning to the campaign, as they’re currently maintaining a play-off spot and they’ve had 6 wins to get their season kick-started. “Super signing” John Terry was made the captain of the Villa side, as he made the big drop from Premier League standard with Chelsea, to the low-life – turning up to play for an Aston Villa side. However, he scored in Villa’s last game, bagging a header in a 2-1 win over Fulham. So all seems to be going swell for him at this point in time, but let’s hope that our attackers leave him heading home questioning if he made the right decision to join the Aston based side.

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Our 5 attacking options will look to prove to make themselves a nuisance in the tie, as we will hope to cause havoc within the Villa back-line, and bag a goal or more to secure a much needed win and clam the bragging rights for at least another 3-4 months. And with the Sky Sports cameras publishing the match for the second Home game in a row, we will be praying to make the opposing side look silly in the fixture.

And now we need to through absolutely everything to find ourselves leaving St. Andrew’s with at least a point to talk about, but anything lower than a point won’t do us any justice considering the contest, and make the struggle even harder to pick ourselves up from our stale beginning to the new season. COYBB!!!

Team News:

BLUES – Carl Jenkinson and David Stockdale the only players to remain sidelined.

VILLA – Agbonlahor could miss the game through a calf injury. Jedinak is unlikely to feature. Neil Taylor is suspended. Lansbury and Grealish are contenders to make the side.

Head-To-Head:

Blues Wins – 38
Games Drawn – 32
Villa Wins – 54
Biggest Win – Villa 7-3 Small Heath Alliance (Blues)

League Form:

BLUES – DWLWL

VILLA – WWWLW

Previous Encounter:

Villa 1-0 Blues (23rd April 2017)

Played For Both – Craigy Gardner

craigy-gardner-for-the-vile

For the big game, there’s one thing lingering in the past for Blues fan favourite Craig Gardner, and that being the time he spent with a Villa shirt on his back. Craigy spent 5 years at Villa Park having coming through the ranks, but he soon left the club to make the short move to Blues, where he scored 9 goals in 42 apps on the 2010/11 season. And now he’s got another chance to punish the sour Villa fans by leading us to derby day success.

Predicted Lineup:

GK: Kuszczak

RB: Colin
CB: Morrison
CB: Roberts
LB: Grounds

CDM: Gardner
CDM: Davis

RAM: Jota
CAM: Boga
LAM: Adams

ST: Vassell

Thoughts From The Boss:

How the pace of our attackers could be a danger to Villa:

I’ve watched two or three of their (Villa’s) games this week. They’ve kept clean sheets in a few of the games, so they’ve done okay. There’s plenty of experience there if you look along that back line. I think there are four internationals. We’ve got to make sure that we’re at our best. We had pace last week but it didn’t do us any good last week.

On his overall record in derby games as a manager:

It would probably be good bad or different in all the derbies. But over 20 years I think I’ve fared okay.

On playing the game, and not the occasion:

You are not going to do anything different with the ball because it’s a derby to any other game. It’s probably playing the moment. When you are out there in the arena, if you are the one on the ball you don’t have time to think about things. Hopefully your team is as cohesive as you can get it so when someone is on the ball they know what their options are.

Score Prediction:

I think that Villa will really struggle to hold back the attacking threat that we pose, but on the other side, they have kept a lot of clean sheets so far this season. But I think that we will snatch at least a goal.

However, Villa are also very dangerous in and around the box, and each of their strikers will be hungry to add to their tally’s for the campaign, and I think that we will have to work extra hard to cancel out the opponents, especially after conceding 2 against Millwall.

So I’m going to go for another 1-1 draw tomorrow midday. I really can’t see any side taking all three points, but if it were to be any, then I can only possibly begin to imagine that it will be the boys in royal blue.

That’s my score prediction, but I want to hear yours! Comment your predicted score-line below, and feel free to tell us what you think about this Match Preview… KRO

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