Ah, the FA Cup. The magical trophy that has at times helped us forget everything that is wrong with Aston Villa. Sadly, drawing Manchester City this early in the competition means that a trip to Wembley is probably off the cards. Which is a shame, because aside from being super expensive, Wembley is quite a nice stadium to visit. Hope is not lost however, Aston Villa could beat Manchester City on Saturday. I mean, they didn't do so badly the last time the two sides met...
The last time we met
Aston Villa hosted Manchester City back in November with a point to prove. Villa had a new boss running the show, and an old friend-turned enemy in the opposition squad. Whether it was one of these things, or maybe a bit of both that was responsible for Villa's performance we will never know, but the side showed tremendous heart to hold City to a 0-0 draw, ending a seven game losing run in the process.
I know, hailing a 0-0 draw as one of the best results of the season isn't ideal, but considering the circumstances, it was nothing short of a miracle. This gave Villa fans hope. Hope that Villa's fortunes might be turning around. Okay, that wasn't completely the case, but it gave us a small glimpse into what Remi Garde might be able to achieve. What Remi Garde has slowly started achieving in the last few weeks.
Sure, Villa failed to record a shot on target, and sure, Villa's clean sheet was earning with the help of the woodwork and Brad Guzan's face as much as defending. But Villa fought for that point. And also, we got to laugh at Manchester City, which is always fun.
Who can forget Rudy Gestede mugging off Joe Hart with this throw in:
Or the Villa Park faithful's welcome to Fabian Delph, making his first return since snaking the club in the summer: (Warning: Extremely NSFW!)
So any game between Villa and City is likely to be eventful, especially considering that Fabian Delph is likely to start come Saturday. For all those planning on attending, get your inflatable snakes ready!
Villa haven't been able to put together any real momentum, but at the minute they seem to be playing better than they have at any other point in the season. This means that a win, however unlikely that might be, has the potential to be huge for Villa. The confidence and momentum that that would bring would be invaluable as Villa go on to face West Ham and Norwich in the coming weeks.
A loss though, that could do some serious damage.
To clarify, I'm not talking a 1-0, 2-1, 2-0 type deal, I'm talking an FA Cup Final 2014 type defeat. The consequences of that could be catastrophic. Morale would drop, confidence would drop even more, and the hard work of the last few weeks would go straight out of the window. The cup doesn't really matter. Just like the last time Villa faced Manchester City, this is about pride.