ANOTHER West Midlands derby as Aston Villa and West Brom clash in the FA Cup Quarter-Finals just four days after their league encounter. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) previews the match for us.
Aston Villa v West Brom | Saturday 17:30 | BBC1
Gosh, what a night on Tuesday eh? I spent it in the company of an Aston Villa fan, (@PilelistRacing since you ask) and it was entertaining to say the least. Watching the emotion-fuelled scenes on the pitch afterwards just proved to me how far this wonderful club have fallen.
The post-match hoopla orchestrated by Tim Sherwood on Tuesday might just prove to be a masterstroke though. Frankly, I’m a bit bored of smart-arse journalists slagging the guy off to be honest. I wonder if he spoke with a middle-class twang would they be so keen to go in with both feet? The guy’s old school, a throwback. Anything wrong with that?
I’m finding it very hard to sculpt a clear view on this game. It’s three months since Aston Villa won back-to-back matches for a start. Beating the same opponent twice in four days seems so beyond them this season.
Plus, how will Tony Pulis have reacted to that awful defeat on Tuesday night? This is an ambitious guy, aware of his burgeoning profile in the game. An FA Cup win would certainly cement his reputation not just in West Brom folklore but in the game generally.
He’s already trodden this FA Cup path with Stoke in 2011 when he took them to the final and he’ll be aware he could draw Bradford or Reading in the semi-finals if they go through here.
West Brom haven’t lost back-to-back games since Tony Pulis took charge at the start of the calendar year, but away from home they’ve been less impressive with just one win in his six games in charge.
Despite Villa winning this game on Tuesday night, they look like going off at a bigger price for this match. At 15/8 with William Hill, they’re just a smidge shorter than West Brom at 19/10 with the same firm. Remarkably the draw is the favourite in Hills‘ book – not often you see that.
That anomaly really shows you how difficult this match is to call. I certainly have no intention of going in heavy here. I’ll be fascinated to see if Tuesday night’s pitch party converts into positivity for Aston Villa, but I’ll side with pissed-off Pulis to gain his revenge on Saturday night and oblige at odds of 19/10.
Aston Villa v West Brom – West Brom to win (19/10 William Hill)
Betfair are offering new players 7/1 on Christian Benteke scoring at any time on Saturday night. After his winner on Tuesday, surely he’ll be confident?