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Dave Woodhall’s Villa Blog

HARD TOFFEE FOR EVERTON

25-04-2008

Everton’s late season dip has opened a window to the UEFA Cup for Villa – just as long as they don’t come unstuck against the Toffees. Dave Woodhall chews over the weekend's prospects.

Before I say anything else, one event has completely overshadowed everything else in the city, never mind at Villa Park. RIP Chris Priest, and condolences to his family and friends.

I’m no good at making predictions, so when I said last Sunday would be a hard-fought game you should have put your mortgage on a five-goal thrashing.

The entire afternoon seemed low-key, in contrast to the ludicrous hype that had accompanied the build-up in the local press. Villa v Blues has never been a game to rival the Old Firm or Merseyside derbies.

There’s never been such intense local pride at stake, and the whole thing has had the air of a family argument between distant cousins that nobody else really takes any notice of.

But this year for some reason (and I may as well blame the Soccer AM-ification of football, as I do for everything else I don’t like), the idiot phrase ‘bragging rights’ mutated into something a whole lot more unpleasant.

Anyway, we won, we exorcised a few demons and it’s on to the next important game. In fact, the most important of the season.

Our good form and Everton running out of steam has transformed Sunday’s match from a meaningless end of season encounter we’re bound to lose into a vital fixture with Villa favourites to take the three points that will make European qualification almost certain.

I wish there was room for both Villa and Everton in the UEFA Cup because they, like us are a traditional football club with decent supporters and a proper ground. But there isn’t, so tough.

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