Aston Villa travel just a few kilometers today to face Birmingham City at St. Andrews in the quarter-finals of the League Cup. Both teams have given supporters a few heart attacks on the way to the quarter finals. Small Heath has faced decidedly inferior competition, starting off with League One side Rochdale, who scored twice, before facing another League One side, Milton Keynes, and then requiring a penalty shootout against yet another League One side, Brentford.
The Villa, for their part, have been slightly less embarrassing in defending their runner-up-ship (is that a thing?) in the Carling Cup. Although they allowed Blackburn Rovers to score first, Villa once again swept aside their ever-present Cup foes. Aston Villa then faced their look-alikes in Championship side Burnley and had a bit more trouble, allowing the Clarets to come back in the 89th minute. Although Burnley may have forced added extra time, the Villa certainly didn't require a penalty shootout.
The claret and blue side of Birmingham may have had a superior showing in the League Cup so far, but unless they win tonight, those results will be worth less than nothing.
Aston Villa Starting XI: Friedel; Warnock, Dunne, Collins, L. Young; Downing, Clark, Bannan, Hogg, A. Young; Agbonlahor.
AVFC Bench: Guzan, Pires, Ireland, Carew, Delfouneso, Cuellar, Lichaj.
Small Heath Alliance Starting XI: Foster; Ridgewell, Johnson, Dann, Carr; Fahey, Bowyer, Ferguson, Larsson; Zigic, Jerome.
SHA Bench: Taylor, Gardner, Derbyshire, Michel, Beausejour, Jiranek, Murphy.