On March seventh, West Bromwich Albion travel to Villa Park for the second time in a week to take on rivals Aston Villa. After the incredible midlands derby that took place on Tuesday, the two sides will go at it once again. This time they face off with a trip to Wembley on the line in this FA Cup quarter final. After the phenomenal ending to the game on Tuesday, the two sides will look to somehow top that. Neither side has won the FA Cup in the last 45 years, so both teams and both sets of fans will be desperate to get to Wembley.
While Albion are relatively injury free, Aston Villa are dealing with quite a few injuries. Tim Sherwood could have Ron Vlaar back at the weekend if he passes a late fitness test. Everyone else that is hurt will be missing though. They’ll be without Aly Cissokho, Kieran Richardson, Chris Herd, Nathan Baker, Philippe Senderos, and Libor Kozak will all be out with longer term injuries. The Baggies will be without Victor Anichebe and could be without Callum McManaman if he fails his late fitness test.
This will be the 165 time the two sides have faced off. Of the previous 164 meetings, Villa have had the edge winning 76 with West Brom winning 53 and the two drawing 35. Despite the great history of both of these clubs neither side have lifted the FA Cup since Albion won it in 1968. Villa are the most recent finalist after they lost in 2000 to Chelsea in the last FA Cup final held at Old Wembely. These two haven’t faced off in the FA Cup since 1998 when Villa won 4-0 at Villa Park. The first time these two met was a 0-0 draw in the 1885 FA Cup.
Aston Villa – Gabriel Agbonlahor
After terrorizing the Albion back line on Tuesday, Villa’s top all time Premier League goalscorer will try to do the same on Saturday. Everyone knows Agbonlahor’s biggest attribute is his lightning pace, but that doesn’t always mean opponents can stop it. He always a pest for opposing center backs and will always threaten with getting in behind. Especially in the first half, the Englishman beat Joleon Lescott with his pace time and time again. One time this led to the opening goal and another time West Brom had to clear the ball off the line. After getting so much joy with his running in behind on Tuesday, Tony Pulis will likely drill his team to stop this in training. That would mean Agbonlahor will have fewer opportunities to get onto the shoulder of a center back, but it also means Albion’s defensive line will have to be deeper giving the rest of the team more room to play in. If nothing else the 28 year old puts fear into opposing defenses and at his best he can cut through a team with his electric pace and ability to finish.
West Bromwich Albion – Saido Berahino
West Brom may not have an abundance of creative players, but they have two very god strikers with one of them being Saido Berahino. The young Englishman has been the Baggies best player this season scoring 18 goals. Despite struggling for much of the match against Villa, he was still able to pop up in the right position for a goal and that is what makes him so dangerous. Berahino is a very good finisher and only needs one chance to turn a game, something he will hope to do against Villa.
Cup ties are always tough to predict and they’re even tougher to predict when they are a derby. After such a lacklustre performance on Tuesday, I expect a pretty strong response from Tony Pulis’s side. I would expect this to be a very tight match that could go either way. I’m going to predict a draw in this match.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw