Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Monday March 13 2006
City of Manchester Stadium
City and Villa fight for the right to entertain either Bolton or West Ham in the FA cup quarter final next Monday. Villa will still perhaps be kicking themselves after having this tie all but sealed at Villa Park. However Micah Richards' late headed goal was enough to earn City a deserved replay and another chance of progressing.
City have a pretty good recent record against Villa, unbeaten in the last seven games between the sides, and have won all three games between the sides at Eastlands. Earlier in the season it was 3-1 to City with ex Villa striker, Darius Vassell, helping himself to a couple of goals against his former club.
After Saturday's poor defeat at Portsmouth the FA cup has taken on an even greater significance for City. A European place is unlikely in the league, so the cup is all that is now really left to play for.
Expect an open game with plenty of chances for both sides and hopefully a good cup atmosphere as City make their first quarter final since 92.
Speaking of the growing speculation over the England job, Stuart Pearce shows where his current responsibilities are.
“It's not a distraction for me but to be fair I don't take a deal of interest in it. My head's been full of Portsmouth versus Manchester City all weekend and now this morning it's full of Manchester City versus Aston Villa.”
Cole is still missing, so Samaras and Vassell will start. Sylvain Distin faces a late fitness test after missing the Portsmouth game with a groin injury. Barton and Sinclair are carrying niggling injuries but both should start. With Reyna looking off the pace at Portsmouth, Musampa may revert to central midfield with Riera returning on the left.
Off the pace of late and a shocking miss in the first game at Villa Park. Expect a reproduction of the form that saw him grab two goals in the 3-1 home win.
Millner faces a lte fitness test. If he fails Moore should start on the left. Berger returns to the squad after a lengthy absence.
Surely his finishing can't be as poor as it was at Blackburn at the weekend?
Villa are something of a banker for City of late. Seven unbeaten in all competitions and wins in all three games between the sides to have been played at Eastlands make City favourites to progress.
Phil Dowd .... Let the game flow.
Villa had their chance and messed it up in injury time at Villa Park. City should continue their good home form and win 2-1.
Sat 18th March: Wigan (h)
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Date:Monday March 13 2006
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