Aston Villa will host Bournemouth in the 4th round of the FA Cup this afternoon, and it's not much of a stretch to call this one of the most important match of the Paul Lambert era. At this point that's been said so much that it's lost all meaning, but bear with me;the fans are more or less in open revolt, and though Paul Lambert is likely to stay in charge through the end of the season no matter what happens, a loss in this match all but guarantees a turn against Lambert so complete that there's no going back.
Think about it; our old friends Bradford City have knocked off Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham, Swansea, and Southampton have been knocked out, and Machester United, and Liverpool are on the ropes. The FA Cup looks as winnable as it has in recent years, and there's a case to be made that Aston Villa should make securing said trophy their highest priority.
I don't in any sense disagree with this. The FA Cup is just about the coolest competition in sports, and if Paul Lambert is ever going to regain the favor of Villa fans he is going to have to do something so audacious as making a real run at the FA Cup. And it's something the fanbase desperately needs, a genuine run at the biggest prize on offer to Aston Villa, something to care about once again.
Bournemouth is just about as bad an opponent as Villa are likely to draw. They're a Championship side-the ultimate trap for the lesser Premier League sides-that scores at will, which will undoubtedly make things difficult for a defensive side like Villa. This is a game Villa should win, but there are reasons to think they won't and that's just the worst possible scenarios. Bournemouth's defense isn't anything to write home about, but they score goals at will-over two per game!-and though the Clarert and Blue rearguard had been so stellar that it's right to place your trust in them, it's more than a little optimistic to expect them to hold the Cherries scoreless.
This is a trap. These games are the absolute worst, because there are completely without upside. If Aston Villa won, well, they're facing a Championship side,. If Aston Villa lose, they're facing a Championship side! It's dumb, and the sooner this game is over the better.