I agree it is better to be in the Premier League than the Championship however I did love the midweek fixtures. It was exciting and gave us opportunities to make a real difference to our league position. During our 10 game winning streak, we were able to shoot up the table and be noticed. Well, as luck would have it we have midweek fixtures this week. I am really happy about this. I feel a bit hard done as I missed our win at Leeds at the weekend as I was sick. Tomorrow we take our second trip to Yorkshire in a few days to visit Sheffield United. And I fully expect us to bring another 3 points back to Birmingham.
There are 7 games this week with one tonight, four tomorrow and two on Thursday night.
Four of the games (highlighted in pinkish-red) have a bearing on the midtable mini-league. None of these is a 6 pointer insofar as no two teams in the mini-league are playing each other. And to be honest only one of these four games really impacts Villa. That is The Baggies v Everton and as much as I would love to see an upset I am not banking on it.
Man City v Wolves
Pep and Man City just do look like they can do any wrong these days. 20 wins on the trot and the Premier League title surely a mere formality. They have Spurs in the final on the Carabao which I expect them to win. That leaves the FA Cup and the Champions League for an amazing quadruple. I actually think they will do it and do you know what? I am happy for them. The quality of their football is brilliant and they deserve their success.
Prediction: Man City win 3-0
Burnley v Leicester
This is an interesting game and I think as good as a ‘must win’ for Leicester as you get. Leicester fcuked up last season and threw away Champions League football at the final hurdle. This season, Leicester is the only team that has remained in the Top 4 since the start. They are suffering badly with injuries and I think they are going to drop out of the Top 4 by season end.
Prediction draw 0-0
Palace v Man Utd
If there is any justice and if the footballing Gods are looking down on this game then Man Utd will win. Crystal Palace play the worst football in the Premier League imo. Worse than The Baggies or The Blades. They are so boring to watch. They clearly have a 40 point strategy each season and it is horrible to watch. Palace make Steve Bruce look like Pep Guardiola. There win against Brighton was so unjust it must sicken the Brighton fans.
Prediction Palace loss 0-3
Baggies v Everton
I am certainly going to be cheering on our local rivals in this game. We really want / need Everton to drop points and a draw here for Big Sam would be great for Villa. But, Big Sam will know he needs wins and I expect he will go for it. With Saints and Brighton dropping down the league quicker than a whores knickers there is a little chance for one of the current bottom 3 to avoid the drop. Personally, I hope Fulham would be the team to survive as they play the best football and are more deserving.
Prediction Baggies loss 1-2
Liverpool v Chelsea
What a brilliant fixture this is to have. Tuchel is unbeaten in 9 games since replacing Frank. They are playing very solid football and have clearly turned a corner and I fully expect them to finish in the Top 4. They have yet to really destroy anyone or look like genuine contenders but that time will come I am sure. Liverpool are on a miserable run and have a very weak defence. Liverpool are also fighting for the lives to try and qualify top 4 so this is a massive game for them and I think both teams would be happy with a draw.
Prediction draw 1-1
Fulham v Spurs
Fulham play some great football and have consistently improved as as the season progressed. Spurs on the other hand have the ability to play brilliant football but are nearly as inconsistent as we are. I would like to see Fulham win this but from watching Spurs recently I think Bale is starting to regain form. An inform Bale is a match winner to any team in this league. If Bale continues like he has been the last few games this will be a straightforward win and we will see Spurs march up the table to finish top 6.
Prediction Fulham loss 0-2
Sheffield United v Aston Villa
On paper this should be one of the easiest 3 points we pick up this season. Blades can’t score goals nor can they defend. Their midfield is weak and their manager has lost all confidence in himself and his players. Their tactics, substitutions and game plan each week are consistently wrong. On the other hand, Villa is full of confidence. We have one of the best defences in the league and our attacking players cause problems to every team we play. This surely can’t be anything but a very straightforward win.
Hopefully, Smith will be boosted by his decision making against Leeds and as Vancouver suggested, resting Jack and Martinez would make sense. I just saw the Smith Pre-match conference and Jack is not playing. I think this is good news!
I am still feeling rough and the brain isn’t working too well so I am not going to make too many suggestions about the game. I will say I think Watkins will score and Dean should rest key players for the Wolves game. If we can’t beat Sheffield United playing a few reserve players then we may as well give up on this season now/
Prediction: Villa win 0-2
Ian Saint John (RIP)
I am not really old enough to remember Ian Saint John as a player. But in the 1980s, my number one TV program was Saint & Greavsie. This was in a time there was virtually no football on TV and living in Ireland I didn’t have the chance to attend games. Saint & Greavsie was the highlight on my Saturday. Earlier today Ian St John sadly passed away at the age of 82. Thank you for the memories!