Competition: FA Cup Quarter-Final – Aston Villa vs West Bromwich Albion
Venue: Villa Park – Saturday, March 7 – 17:30 GMT (12:30 ET)
Match Odds: Aston Villa 8/5 – Draw 21/10 – West Brom 9/5
Aston Villa will be relieved as much as they are delighted to have recorded their first win in 13 Premier League games when they beat West Brom 2-1 on Tuesday thanks to a late Christian Benteke penalty – it also marked their first win under new manager Tim Sherwood.
West Brom had been in good form before the defeat to Villa having won six, drawn three and lost just one of their last ten games in all competitions.Embed from Getty Images
The FA Cup has provided Aston Villa with some much needed respite from their poor Premier League form, so if they can secure top flight status and continue their cup run, it could arguably still be a reasonably successful season given the circumstances.
Wins over Blackpool, Bournemouth and Leicester have seen them through to the quarter-final stage for the first time in five years and a trip to Wembley for the semi-final is now within touching distance.
Tony Pulis has revitalised West Brom since his arrival at the beginning of January, much like he did at Crystal Palace last season, and the midweek defeat to Villa was only his second in all competitions as the Baggies boss.
Strikers Saido Berahino and Brown Ideye have been instrumental for West Brom in recent weeks and have shared the goalscoring load successfully, as they showed in their comprehensive 4-0 win at home to West Ham in the fifth round with Ideye scoring twice and Berahino getting one.Embed from Getty Images
We’re at the stage of the competition where everyone can now almost smell the grass of the famous Wembley pitch and the players will be desperate to get an opportunity to play on such an stage, so we could see a highly competitive, hard-fought game. A proper FA Cup tie some would say.
Aston Villa will be without the suspended Alan Hutton. Aly Cissokho (groin), Chris Herd (knee), Nathan Baker (knee) and Libor Kozak (leg) will all miss out through injury while Philippe Senderos and Kieran Richardson are also doubts. Ron Vlaar is expected to return to the squad.
West Brom are likely to be without Victor Anichebe who is suffering with a groin strain. Callum McManaman missed the last game with a foot injury but may return to action this weekend depending on whether he passes a late fitness test.
Aston Villa’s last five in all competitions: L/W/L/L/W
West Brom’s last five in all competitions: W/W/D/W/L
Key Stat: West Brom haven’t beaten Aston Villa in an FA Cup tie since February 1925. The two sides have clashed six times in the competition since then, which have resulted in five Villa wins and one draw.Embed from Getty Images
Key Player: Gabriel Agbonlahor – He seemed to have a new lease of life on Tuesday night and Tim Sherwood has clearly lifted the spirits and tried to get Villa playing positively and it showed in Agbonlahor’s forward play. If he can perform to near his best then he will be a real danger.
Aston Villa 2-2 West Bromwich Albion – This has all the makings of a thoroughly entertaining cup tie and we could see it going back to The Hawthorns for a replay.