Aston Villa v Bournemouth (FA Cup) 2014/15
Bournemouth are heading to Villa Park full of confidence and will fancy their chances against an out of form Villa side. Despite notorious exits to lower league teams though Villa will be keen to use the cup as a welcome distraction from the league campaign, which looks to be turning into yet another relegation battle…
Lambert on the prospect of a cup run
“It’s probably long overdue, a good cup run. If we get through this we’re a couple of games away from a semi. If you get through this you’ve got a chance at it.”
Lambert on Carles Gil’s debut
“To an extent it was a magic performance. Carles gives us something we don’t have but to come on and play the way he did in a game of that magnitude lifted the whole stadium and it was great.
“He is an excellent footballer, has a low centre of gravity and has an excellent touch, a typical Spanish type of player. Technically he’s first class and he has only been here a few days so there’ll be a lot more to come from him.
“He’s excellent and we let him play with a bit of freedom to go and create and he is really enjoying his football. We don’t want to put too much expectancy on him but he has fitted in excellently for us.”
Eddie Howe on Villa
“Aston Villa is a club steeped in history and tradition and we are really looking forward to going to Villa Park.
“It goes without saying that it will be an extremely difficult game for us but we always want to test ourselves against the best and they have some top-quality players in their squad.”
Howe on Bournemouth
“Our league position gives us a certain amount of freedom. There’s always pressure regardless of where you are in the league and whether you are home or away.
“In some respects, you want that to get the best out of your players. I have no problems in saying that I expect us to perform.
“We have flexibility and freedom, but that’s not to say we won’t try and be strong, competitive and give Aston Villa a good game.”
Villa have only played Bournemouth four times. The first two games were in the Third Division in the 1971/72 season, while the latter encounters were in the Second Division in the 1987/88 season.
Villa won one game and drew the other during the two Villa Park clashes.
This will be the first time the teams have met in a cup competition. While the game is an important one for Villa’s season there was an awful lot at stake when the teams first met at Villa Park in 1972. Having lost the earlier away fixture 3-0, Villa were battling Bournemouth for promotion but thankfully won 2-1 – watched by over 48,000 people.
Form is Temporary
Villa– Last five matches at home (in all competitions): W 1, D 3, L 1
Bournemouth– Last five matches away (in all competitions): W 4, L 1
One to Watch
Callum Wilson – the Cherries spent big money to bring the ex-Coventry striker to the side and it looks to be a good investment – he’s their top scorer in the league.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
There’s no doubt that Bournemouth will see this as a very good chance to progress to the FA Cup fifth round for the first time since the 1988/89 season.
A lot has been said about Bournemouth’s goals tally and Villa fans are probably sick of hearing some stats, particularly that Bournemouth have scored more goals in Birmingham (8) than Lambert’s side (7) this season.
Bournemouth have scored 32 goals this season – and that’s just those in away matches. Villa meanwhile remain stuck on 11 goals, and haven’t scored a league goal since December 20.
Carles Gil breathed life into Villa’s attack when he was brought on against Liverpool which is good considering he looks to be the only signing this season – despite recent claims that Randy Lerner is the fourth richest man in the Midlands.
While the Spaniard will probably start against Bournemouth he will have his work cut out leading Villa to goalscoring glory. We’ve only managed an average of 2.7 shots on target per game this season, and only two goals in the second half in all matches.
In the Premier League, we’re the bottom team in terms of shots on target and 19th in terms of chances created. With Bournemouth in the form they’re in (they’ve scored 46 more league goals than Villa!), it’s a good thing we’ve been decent defensively…
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
Villa struggled severely against Blackpool and facing Eddie Howe’s side will be a difficult task for Villa. But it’s important to remember the importance of a good cup run.
Teams like Swansea, erm, Bradford and more recently Sheffield United have shown that you don’t have to be a top four club to go on a good cup run. As well as giving the Villa fans some much needed cheer, it would also make the season more memorable.
If we win on Sunday not only would it build a bit of confidence it could lead to more of an effort in the competition. Recent seasons have seen us drop out much too soon, and with the team struggling yet again a loss would result in a season defined only by a relegation battle and we’d have to hear that annoying phrase from fans with no ambition: “At least we can concentrate on the league now”.
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
It’s easy to remember Villa’s embarrassing cup upsets, but we have picked up some decent results under Lambert in the cup – particularly in the Scot’s first season.
While we struggled against relegation in 2012/13, Villa picked up a 4-1 win against Norwich as well as defeating Manchester City at the Etihad!
Eddie Howe said his side would play without freedom and from their perspective it wouldn’t be the end of the world for them to exit and focus on promotion.
Villa might be having problems in the league but a trip to Villa Park is bound to be slightly intimidating, even for Championship’s top team.
With the exciting Gil set to feature and Lambert likely to field a strong side, a cup run would provide a welcome distraction from league troubles. We know the team are good enough, so hopefully we see a Premier League quality performance for once from Lambert’s men.
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