Match Preview: Crystal Palace at Villa Park in the FA Cup

I'm not expecting us to see flowing football tomorrow night or players to be thinking about keeping the ball when there is a 20% chance kicking it long and down the line, we might have a chance. No, I'm not expecting the football to be change now.

What I am expecting however and I feel I am going to be disappointed, but not surprised, are changes. You see, it is clear as day to everyone that we are running these players into the ground and while the bench is very much his bench, they are not getting used.


But, I don't think it is going to be an issue for tomorrow night or for Sunday for that matter. It will become an issue very soon, as it always does for O'Neill, but I think we have enough in the tank to get past Crystal Palace.

Martin O'Neill from express.co.uk
The way that game went may allow us to go a little stronger than we might have for the FA Cup game. We were able to bring one or two off and give them a wee rest.

The manager is talking about bringing off Webcam for Sidwell in the 82nd minute, Gabby for Carew in the 71st minute and Heskey for Delfouneso in the 76th minute. We were 3-1 up against the team with the worst away record in the league for thirteen minutes before he decided to make any changes and the man of the match only got an eight minute rest.

But, this is about tomorrow, even if I have to admit, I have one eye on Sunday and am not actually that interested in the FA Cup at the moment. I know we are one of the favourites, but give me an FA Cup final at Wembley against Chelsea or a League Cup final at Wembley against Manchester United and I know where my money is going.

But, to tomorrow night. The manager has as good as said he will be playing his strongest side so expect the strongest side and expect three points. When I say three points, I mean, expect us to win in 90 minutes. This should be a comfortable three points despite the match last time out because we are better and the last time out was a one off.

Yes, we might be playing at the same level in one respect, but we have better players and I believe Martin O'Neill is better at getting his players up for the fight and I really do think that will be enough for us as a team to get the home win in ninety minutes. The last thing the manager wants tomorrow night is extra time with his best team, just a few days before a Wembley final.

So, we will win this game because it is an important one and O'Neill will get his players up for it. We will be up for it on Sunday also because it is a huge game and silverware is the carrot. I also think, if we can avoid Chelsea, we will get to the final of the FA Cup, but that is just my own private prediction.

So, FA Cup tomorrow night but I'm sorry, I am more interested in Sunday as tomorrow is a home win because we should have enough in the tank. If it turns out we don't have enough in the tank, then it might be about the right time to start to worry a little bit about Sunday as Manchester United have an extra day rest on us.

Manchester United also don't have a match until the following Saturday, so I'm expecting their strongest side possible and if taking a player off with eight minutes allows him to be played three days later, then imagine what an extra days rest will do for the United players playing tonight.

But and I am sorry for ending up on Sunday again, this is about tomorrow. Three points home win. Just can't see anything else, even if we rested Milner, Gabby and Webcam.