Aston Villa v Portsmouth: Preview, prediction and banter

We picked up four points from Pompey last season and on current form, you'd expect us to take all six this season. They are a different team this time out and many people have predicted they'll struggle and I don't disagree. I don't see them going down, but I also don't see them turning it around any time very soon.

The thing is, this is a banana skin for us. Pompey have played five games and lost them all and that isn't going to continue. They will eventually pick up a point or three and well, as we are the next team, there is a chance they'll pick it or them up on tomorrow.

The thing is, last season and definitely the one before and every one under the previous manager I would have flirted with the 'we could drop points' theory as we were less stable in all departments, but this season, I think we are much more solid across the whole squad and I think we are also a lot more focused.

It could all go wrong, or we could just have an 'off day', but I see less of them this season and certainly not at the moment, not with the way we are playing and with our team determination.

Last October it was a draw at Villa Park and we won away and much has been said the past few weeks about doing better against the teams than we did last season as a sign of progression and if we do that in every game then we will progress. To do better against Pompey then, we have to win tomorrow and I think we will.

Home Comforts

Many thought we would revert to 4-4-2 when Fulham visited recently, but we didn't, we stuck with 4-5-1 and when Carew game on in the second half, we didn't change. Instead Gabby went to the right and we persisted with the formation, which worked.

Every game we have won this season (in the League) has seen us start and finish the game playing 4-5-1 but deep down I know O'Neill is going to start a game playing 4-4-2 and you'd think, seeing as they are bottom of the table have only scored three goals (in the League) all season, then this might be the game he tries it.

I'm not going to say anything about it, he is the manager and I believe he knows what he is doing. Pompey also play quite a strange formation, I'm not sure you could call it 4-4-2 but it looks like that. In fact it is probably more a 4-3-1-2 or even 4-1-3-2 or some might even say 4-3-2-1, but I can't say for sure and as Martin O'Neill has said recently, formation doesn't matter, it's the players.

If you look at the players we have and look at the players they have, then it's no contest, we should win hands down, but we all know it is more than that. They will come looking for three points. They can't come looking for the draw, if they do, then they are sure to meet with defeat, so have to be aggressive and watchful.

The Final Score

I really can't see anything other than three points for us, it's just about what team turns up. If it is the same one as Fulham, then I can see three goals. If we wait for Pompey to settle into what they want to achieve then maybe a scrappy one-nil home win, you just don't know what is going to turn up these days; dogged and determined or exciting and entertaining.

So, three points for me and another step in the right direction for the season. Sorry Pompey fans, I just can't see you getting anything, although I do think it will come good for you this season, just not this weekend.