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Dave’s Villa Blog

THE MAGIC OF THE CUP (II)

06-01-2010

The league programme traditionally takes a back seat at this time of the year. As Dave Woodhall explains, this provides not one, but two, chances of glory for the Villa.

May as well get it out of the way - it’s our year for the cup. For the uneducated, that little joke has become a stock phrase of Villa supporters for decades now. We’ve got an appalling record in the FA Cup and it’s about time it ended.

The FA Cup might be devalued in some eyes, but there are still those of us who regard it as the Holy Grail.

Last Saturday’s third round tie with Blackburn saw our weakened select XI beat their reserves. Not only was it a comfortable win, we also saw a few more positive points. Brad Guizan is turning into a top-class keeper, Nathan Delfouneso is looking good and Fabian Delph’s, er, robust. We can afford to drop a few players and still put in a decent performance; it’s a far cry from getting turned over by Leicester City and QPR.

With that one out of the way we’re at home to Brighton, struggling in the old third division, in round four. There should be a bit more interest in this tie and a decent away following will help see the 25,000-odd we got against Blackburn comfortably exceeded.

Tuesday night should have seen us take another step forward on the road to Wembley, courtesy of the League Cup semi-final, also against Blackburn. Unfortunately, every step forward on the road to anywhere was likely to see you slide back two and the game was quite rightly called off – which I wasn’t too upset about. Driving back late at night from a remote northern mill town on t’edge of t’moors isn’t my idea of fun.

So it looks like we’ll be playing Rovers next Thursday. Before then we’ve got, weather permitting, a league game at Wigan. I hope this one goes ahead, and it should; there’s a lot of difference between Blackburn at night and Wigan in the afternoon.

The weather and the cups have distracted us from the fact that we’ve lost both our two last league games and ground on the other Champions League contenders. Wigan beat us on the opening day and deserved their 2-0 victory. Since then we’ve improved, they haven’t and a revenge win will set us up nicely for what promises to be an interesting few weeks.

Read Terry Wills' take on The Magic of the Cup here

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