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Carling Cup final – Aston Villa v Manchester United

O'Neill and Ferguson

O'Neill and Ferguson

This afternoon sees the first English domestic final as Aston Villa and Manchester United take to the field at Wembley in the Carling Cup final. The game between two of the best teams in the country should provide a worthy spectacle.

Injury

Villa have had some illness and injury concerns but they seem to be fading. Stiliyan Petrov has recovered from a virus and Emile Heskey and James Collins should also be fit to start.

United will be without Anderson, who is unlikely to play again this season and Rio Ferdinand who has suffered a recurrence of his back problem. Nani is suspended and Ryan Giggs is still missing.

Holders

United go into the game as the Carling Cup holders and they will be confident of retaining the trophy against a team who haven’t won anything for fourteen years. In the last twenty-six games between the two teams United have lost only once. That fact may be frightening to Villa, but the fact that the one victory came at Old Trafford as recently as December, will mean that Villa will not lack self belief.

Villa have won the various versions of the Carling Cup on five occasions. They won it in 1961 when it was contested for the first time and now appear in the fiftieth final. Their last win, however, was fourteen years ago when they beat Leeds and they have never before been to the new Wembley.

Contrast

In total contrast to that, United have been to the new Wembley seven times and in the fourteen years since Villa won a major trophy, United have won fifteen! On the positive side for Villa, United have failed to win any of their seven games at the new Wembley without needing penalty kicks to do so.

Sir Alex Ferguson had used fringe players and youth players in the early rounds of the competition but he brought in the ‘big guns’ for the semi-final against Manchester City. He will certainly go with a strong team today as he will be keen to add to his trophy haul.

Strong

Aston Villa have played fairly strong sides throughout the tournament but reserve keeper Brad Guzan may be unlucky to be replaced by Brad Friedel after playing in every other round.

Both sides have exciting attacking players with Manchester United looking to Wayne Rooney to continue his great season. He is in the form of his life and will be very keen to show what he can do on the biggest stage.

Talent

Villa have exciting English talent too with the likes of Gabby Agbonlahor, Ashley Young and James Milner. The pace with which they attack and the great delivery they have from set plays will undoubtedly give United plenty of problems.

The great strength of Manchester United, however, is to soak up any pressure applied by the opposition and then hit them with quick and direct counter attacking play. They will hope that Villa do come at them but I suspect that Villa will also sit back and look to hit United on the counter.

Experience

If that happens, one of the two sides will have to take the game by the scruff of the neck and I fully expect that to be Manchester United who will try to take full advantage of their greater experience of playing in such important matches.

Very often these types of games are something of a disappointment but I have a feeling that this one might be quite entertaining.

SoccerNews prediction: Villa 1-2 United

Sun 28 February, 2010
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2 Comments:

  1. awii says:

    cum on guys hvnt u all noticed whwt wayne is doing? his gnna rush villa into bones…….carlinc cup is ours

  2. Now that 59% of the supporters are saying that they are likely not to get a new season card, which is the record in the premier league i can’t imagine what will become with the club, it’s all about profit for the Glazer family, they keep forgetting that the fans are not happy and that is the most important thing imo.

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