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Aston Villa v Man Utd:Preview

We take on Aston Villa in the FA Cup, again. It seemed sort of inevitable when the drawing was made — we played them last time like some million times in January itself, I suppose.

Anyway, we have had a great record against them in recent times, although it must be said that Martin O’Neill’s sides can never be written off. They are a good side with a decent midfield and an excellent forward line. However their defence might appear a bit crap, as demonstrated by our last meeting. Zat Knight, particularly, seems injury prone and if we get our swagger back — something that was missing over the last couple of games — we could comfortably overcome them.

Regarding squad composition, Wayne Rooney should return to the side, although Tevez would be certainly ruled out with a sore ankle. Thankfully the injury is not very serious and he should return to the side soon.

Saha would most probably partner Rooney in attack. Despite his slow start to the season, I feel he is getting his game back. I was impressed by what I saw of him, especially in the Sunderland game. I think he will prove valuable in the latter half of the season.

Ronaldo and Giggs would most likely play in the wings with Anderson and Hargreaves likely to play in the middle of the park. With the crowded fixture list of December out of the way, it is fair enough to assume that Fergie would field his best XI. In this case, with Tevez the only casualty, our best XI would be the midfield and forward line that I just mentioned with the quartet of Brown-Rio-Vidic-Evra.

I am not really sure if EVDS is fit as yet. We’ll have to wait and see. And the same would hold for Neville, although that’s something we’ve been doing all season.

Meanwhile, in news relating to the club, the Barcodes have bid for Brown and the bid has been rejected.

Ramos has placed a ridiculously high value on Berbatov. I would be stunned if we ever bid so much for a striker. He’s still got a lot to prove, in my opinion. He’s got a great touch and all the great attributes, but that sort of value – 31 million pounds – is just extortion. And we would be well advised to stay away from it all.

We continue to be linked to right backs, and I don’t want to talk about Hutton and Lahm anymore than what’s already been discussed to death here. We do need decent right backs, but getting someone in January and expecting him to straightaway make an impact in the side would be asking for too much. Even the best of players take time to adjust. And that is something we just can do at this crucial stage of the season. I wouldn’t mind letting Brown go at the end of the season on a Bosman, if it means his presence in the current side helps us win the title. He is settled here, Neville should hopefully return at some point (surely?) and that should be it. I don’t really expect much to be done during this window.

Anyway, let’s get back to the game today. I will be travelling today, which means I will be missing the game. Also, for the next couple of days I will be in a place where I won’t be guaranteed of a sustained period of net access. So I will not have a match report. But I will leave you to give your informed analyses — something that you all usually do — post-game, in the comments section.

Anyway, I do also have a couple of posts lined up that will be up even while I am out of town. So that should give you your daily dose of RR Fodder — if I may be allowed to call it that.