There’s few clubs who offer more of a threat to our chances of finishing in the top four than tonight’s opposition Aston Villa, making the match crucial in the success of our season.
Martin O’Neil has seen his sides form differ on a number of occasions over the course of this campaign, but despite a recent 3-0 loss to Arsenal, Aston Villa shouldn’t be underestimated.
Looking back to early this season the Birmingham based club had a less than brilliant start to their push for a Champions League place, with a host of poor results against teams they should have been beating. Who did they break that bad spell against? Us, of course, beating a less-than-brilliant Liverpool side 3-1 at home with a little help from a Lucas own-goal and Steven Gerrard giving away a stupid penalty.
We can’t let that happen again at Villa Park this evening. Despite what many of the so-called ‘experts’ are saying I believe the confidence gained from our scrappy win against Wolves on Boxing Day will be enough to ensure the players are more than capable of going out there and getting the result we need to catch up with the rest of the pack. Although Villa aren’t going to be pushovers by any stretch of the imagination a good start to the first-half from the Reds’ will put worries into the minds of the recently-beaten Villa side.
The good thing for us seems to be that pressure in the first 15 minutes of the game has seldom been a problem in recent weeks, although keeping up the pressure and breaking teams down later on in the first half has to be noted as a concern going into a must win game. Ensuring a consitently good performance throughout the match will be essential if we want to secure all three points. holding off or sitting back when in the lead is simply not an option, not against a side as good going forward as Villa.
It’s not going to be easy, but I believe we can do it.