Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert will face a Herculean task this year to bring the FA Cup back to Villa Park for the first time in 57 years. Villa, who will play against Sheffield United on Saturday, are buoyed by their Sunderland 1-0 victory in the Premier League and now have their eyes set a successful cup run.
Nigel Clough’s men will travel to Villa Park this weekend to try and make a lasting impression in their first 2014 match. After a 2-1 defeat against Walsall that ended their eight game winning run, the Blades will want to make a fresh start for this year’s FA Cup and show what they are capable of achieving. Although the line-up has yet to be announced, striker Chris Porter will certainly be put to the test against Villa, and Clough is likely to rely on right back Tony McMahon once again this Saturday.
Aston Villa is trying to recover after humbling defeats and a series of poor performances that angered their fans. Although their luck looks set to change, they will have to face a crucial third round encounter with the Blades before they can even dream about making room in their trophy cabinet.
Top Villa striker Christian Benteke will be under pressure to perform well this weekend, after an injury and 10 matches with no goals left him struggling in the last few matches.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3 pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Sheffield United 1 (Ward) Aston Villa 3 (Walker, Albrighton, Petrov), FA Cup, January 2011
Aston Villa 3 (Agbonlahor, Young, Berger) Sheffield United 0, Premiership, May 2007
Sheffield United 2 (Quinn, Webber) Aston Villa 2 (Petrov, Baros), Premiership, December 2006
Aston Villa hasn’t won an FA Cup in 57 years, although they came close in the 2000 final when they were defeated with a 0-1 score to Chelsea.
Sheffield United ended their 8 game winning run with a 2-1 defeat against Walsall.
Aston Villa have won eight out of the last ten matches against Sheffield United.
Aston Villa to win: 1.44
Sheffield United to win: 6.5
TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10.30pm.
Video: Lambert - Christmas was 'tough' for Villa