Writer: Gavin Cooper
Date:Saturday August 16 2008
17th August 2008
After differing results midweek in the UEFA cup these two big City clubs meet for their opening premiership fixture.
Mark Hughes talks about the opening game: 'Villa are a good side and have been for a couple of seasons now. They`ve certainly established themselves as one of the main teams in the top 10, which we obviously anticipate that we will be. So if we can take points off them early in the season then that might help us at the end."
Hughes then plays the psychological mind games: 'Villa had a decent result in Europe and had a little bit of travelling as well, maybe that will have an effect on them. I would imagine, given the 4-1 scoreline, they certainly weren`t up against the quality of opposition that we were up against.'
He talks about the comparrison of the midweek game and the Villa game: 'There wasn`t enough drive against Midtjylland and wedidn`t anticipate or read enough situations and nip them in the bud before they developed into opportunities for them, At the weekend you`ll see a different performance, we need to step up to the plate and certainly be a lot more dynamic and show a lot more personality on the field of play.'
Luke Young is poised to make his Aston Villa debut at right-back following his move from Middlesbrough after not being eligible for the Hafnarfjordur clash.
Giant striker John Carew, who missed the Uefa Cup game with a slight calf strain, is expected to come into the starting XI at the expense of Marlon Harewood.
Centre-back Carlos Cuellar, signed from Rangers in a £7.8million deal this week, and midfielder Steve Sidwell are both struggling with calf problems and may miss out.
His pace and eye for goal can be areal handful for any defence.
Mark Hughes will be forced into one switch at the back, with Richard Dunne ruled out through suspension after being sent off in the final game of the season at Middlesbrough last term.
Dunne's absence at centre-back could see Tal Ben Haim move across from left-back, with Javier Garrido and Michael Ball pushing for a start.
Stephen Ireland, who has been linked with a move to Sunderland, was on the bench on Thursday night and will be hoping for a starting berth.
Hughes remains short of options up front with Jo on international duty with Brazil at the Olympic Games and Benjani (thigh) and Darius Vassell (knee) out injured.
Bulgaria international Valeri Bojinov could take his place in the starting XI after Hughes went with Daniel Sturridge and Felipe Caicedo against Midtjylland and possible Ched Evans could put himself in with a chance of starting also.
The mercurial winger is City's main threat at getting the ball into the danger areas and likes to have a shot with his stinging left foot.
Aston Villa are sick of the sight of Manchester clubs as not only do City have a great record against the midlands club but United regularly beat them as well.
Villa have not beaten City at Villa park since an August fixture in 2002 when Darius Vassell scored the only goal
Phil Dowd - was in charge of our matchus horriblus in our final game of last season and has always taking a dis-liking to Dunne; but as he is not playing he cannot book him or send him off this time.
Despite City's poor showing in midweek; I fully expect a totally different side to come out and cause many problems for Villa. AVFC 0 - 1 MCFC.
West Ham at COMS on Sunday 24th August with a 4pm kick off on Sky.
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Date:Saturday August 16 2008
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