This is the game fans look forward to the most. The second city Derby is always a spectacle and down the years there has been amazing games that have benefitted both teams. And of course, with the untimely passing of Villa legend Ugo Ehiogu on Friday morning, there is no doubt emotions will be running high at Villa Park on Sunday.
Up until a week ago, this game was set to be a dead rubber, hence why no Television company picked up the game to show. However, as Birmingham have continued to slide down the table, this has now become a game where City really can’t lose. They are only 2 points above the relegation zone with 3 to play.
In what will go down as one of the poorest managerial appointments ever, it led to Gianfranco Zola‘s resignation on Monday evening following their 0-2 loss at home to Burton on Easter Monday. In a move that delighted Blues fans but caused concern to Villa fans! Just the next morning Harry Redknapp was confirmed as Blues manager, which has definitely raised some eyebrows amongst the Villa faithful. Redknapp’s recent record isn’t the best, but for a short term burst of passion to get Birmingham some well needed points, its a shrewd move. There is no doubt that Blues now won’t sleep walk into this game, there was obvious huge unrest at City, who have won just 2 of there last 24 games, going from 7th to 20th place in that time.
Villa also have problems themselves, with 6 goals conceded in 2 games, and Villa will now be without Jonathan Kodjia, who has been villa’s main hope this season. Bruce experimented with the formation against Fulham as he tried to revert to his favoured 352 formation, but to say it didn’t work was an understatement. This is a game not to experiment, and the 433 that has worked so well this season must be removed. Scott Hogan will lead the line alone, so its key that he is supported by Albert Adomah and Jack Grealish at all times.
Steve Bruce mentioned in his press conference the infamous Gabby Agbonlahor and his determination to play in some part of the game on Sunday. Whilst he really is disliked amongst a section of Villa fans, it looks like Gabby will at least make the bench for a game where he has a fantastic track record.
It’s a full house at Villa Park on Sunday for the mid day kick off, and no doubt it will be a tense environment! Dr Tony Xia has confirmed his attendance and it will be his first experience of a sold out Villa Park on derby day, I can’t wait to see his face at kick off. Losing to Blues at home is unthinkable, but Blues really need some pints so it’s likely to be some game! UTV