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Should Aston Villa rest players in the lead-up to the FA Cup Final?

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Villa have a big cup final coming up, but aren't mathematically safe in the Premier League. So should they be resting players or no?

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Aston Villa have three matches remaining this season and all three are very important. Although, if things bounce a certain way, one of those league matches might end up meaning nothing at all. And since the fate of Premier League safety could be sealed without a Villa win, would you gamble with resting players?

Q: Villa are nearing safety but are not mathematically guaranteed to stay in the Premier League. If you're Tim Sherwood, do you consider resting players versus Southampton knowing the FA Cup Final approaches, and that even if you do lose, you play an already relegated Burnley on the final day? Or do you go all out and worry about the potential consequences later?

Robert

Definitely go for the points against Southampton. They've looked exhausted lately (really guys, 2-0 to Leicester one week after 2-1 to Sunderland?) and Villa have looked great. Win and we don't have to worry, Hull lose and we don't have to worry. But let's not leave it until the last day. I worry that relaxing for a week and then suddenly going "oh crap" would be even worse for the team than just having to play hard two weeks in a row.

Plus there's a decent chance that we hit safety next weekend anyhow and that gives a chance to rest players in the week before the final, which seems like better rest.

Adam

Nope - the sooner we're safe, the sooner the players can mentally rest and start focusing entirely on the final. I wouldn't mind a certain amount of tactical variation, because I think the West Ham match showed that teams are getting to grips with the Fabian Delph-Jack Grealish-Christian Benteke attack, but nothing drastic. Perhaps Gabby Agbonlahor back in the side for a bit.

Elis

No way. Villa aren't safe just yet, and given how unpredictable the last few weeks have been, it would be reckless to risk resting players when our fate isn't sealed. If we can secure safety, I'm all for resting a few players against Burnley though, providing we have secured our safety by then.

RJ

I don't know about "resting" players per se, but I'd be fine with giving someone like Alan Hutton or Carlos Sanchez a start to see how they play against a team in Southampton that has a similar possession-based playing style to Arsenal. I don't see the benefit in not playing the likes of Benteke, Delph or Grealish, but for some of the other positions that aren't as solidified for the Final, I'm all for seeing what other players have to offer in this Southampton match.

Andrew

Safety first.

Clearly they seem safe and based on other results they might be more safe after Saturday. Not the best time to have the early game is it? That said you want to go out and win. It'd be a huge win for momentum's sake, for the mood around the club, and the fans. Beating Southampton, who is fighting for a spot in Europe, would be a really another great moment for the club as they wind down what was mostly a terrible season. If I'm in charge, I'm playing my strongest lineup and trying to guarantee safety with three points. That way they can try some stuff out against Burnley and rest anyone who might need it.

James

Safety.

Villa will be the joke of the league if they sacrifice their current position, there's no excuses as we should be able to give Arsenal a good game even with a rotated team due to how similar and close the squad is in ability.

Matt

Yeah, I tend to agree with everyone else. As Andrew said, it's a little unfortunate that Villa play the first game of the weekend. It's entirely possible that Villa get steamrolled by Southampton and still become mathematically safe. But just to be devil's advocate, I'll argue the other side.

Southampton are undoubtedly a better side than Burnley. Even for as meh as they've been in their last couple matches, I still think they have a better chance to beat us than Burnley do. There's a reason Burnley have already been relegated: they're bad. I can totally see an argument for getting some players some rest and then going all out for the final match of the season and then trying to ride that wave into the cup final. I don't think that's that crazy. Hell, with the way Southampton are playing, maybe Villa can pull a win out of nowhere even with a few players starting on the bench.

That being said, I probably wouldn't do it.

Now we want to hear what you have to say. When, if at all, should Villa rest players?