TalkSport’s ALAN BRAZIL offers his insight on the likely winners in tomorrow’s first leg of the League Cup semi-final
With the appalling weather seemingly in for the rest of the week, there must be a question mark over whether or not this game between Blackburn and Aston Villa will even go ahead at Ewood Park.
Sam Allardyce is under serious pressure to keep his job as Blackburn manager after a poor run of results (two away losses and a home draw against Sunderland), and sadly I cannot see them getting anything out of this game either.
Much depends on the sides put out, as recent years have see the old League Cup relegated to an also-ran tournament in some peoples’ eyes, but with a shortage of striking options, Rovers may not have a lot of choice despite prioritising the fight to avoid relegation from the Premier League, as they sit unlucky 13th, only three points clear of the drop zone.
With the loveable (?) El-Hadjj Diouf suspended and both Jason Roberts and Benni McCarthy carrying injuries, Blackburn (4-1 losers against Manchester City on Monday, remember) could well be shot-shy despite home advantage.
This may hand the momentum to Aston Villa. Martin O’Neill is not normally a manager who takes any competition lightly and he certainly does not take losing on the chin, and although I am sure he would be delighted with a draw to take Blackburn back to Villa Park for the second leg, they should be good enough and strong enough to put this semi-final to bed at the first attempt.
The fitness of James Milner could well provide the key as the England midfielder is a class act on his day and a physical match for anything Big Sam can throw at him, and I can see him being the Man Of The Match and crucial the Villans’ success.
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