Since Gareth Barry’s shot limped in off Duff’s foot and helped us on our way to Division One (it’s not a championship), I have had a certain indifference to Villa…
Under Martin O’Neill they were an over achieving team surviving off scraps from other teams, (Milner on loan for example) and seemed to be just there annoying teams around them, without any real ambition.
Since then the only comparison with Newcastle United is the fact they are badly run (Darren Bent still on their books…?) and they hate their owner.
We must show our renewed passion and intensity from the first second, not let them have any time on the ball and generally bully them.
I was worried when they were 2-1 at Watford in injury time (eventual result 3-2 to Watford) and I thought; no, don’t start to win before our game, and luckily for us they had someone sent off and instead had a nice morale sapping loss.
Personally, in my Newcastle team v Aston Villa I’d put Siem de Jong in for Wjnaldum and use him as a conduit for Mitro, surely this game has to be his hat-trick game?
I would also risk Jonjo Shelvey in that No.10 role as he can hold up the ball and pass sometimes.
I feel if Wijnaldum and Cisse play, then we lose any attacking threat and end up playing with nine men, which we can’t afford.
Still, in Saint Rafa I trust, something I haven’t done in ages!