A few days ago, I posted something about the business end of the season starting for us. I even told you to remember the date. It was February 18th.
Now, I could go dramatic and tell you that it might all be for nothing if we do not win on Sunday and it could turn out that way, but I am convinced we will have a good Sunday. I'm convinced for many reasons, but I think we saw the main reasons in the last two games.
You see, they were both important matches and we did absolutely what was necessary. It will be different on Sunday, in terms of the quality we are up against and it will be harder than playing the likes of Burnley and Crystal Palace, in so much they won't allow us the space or time and they will be more of a threat going forward, but I've written before about why will beat them, so I'm not going to go into it again in any great detail.
But, these next few days are the most important days for all involved with Aston Villa 2.0 and everyone associated with the club has a part to play and a right to feel quite good about where we are right now.
I'm an idealist and the best way to define that word and my position, to really put myself in the firing line, is someone whose ideals conflict with practical considerations. In terms of the bigger picture, that is me and I'll hold my hands up. But Sunday is different.
Martin O'Neill won the League Cup in 1997 and 2000 with Leicester. They beat Tranmere in 2000 and Middlesbrough in 1997. In 1999, he also lost the final against Spurs, but my point is, he knows what is needed in these situations and I believe he will get it out of the players.
We saw in the first half last night and the second half against Burnley what O'Neill is capable of getting out of his players. It would be nice to see it for 90 minutes, but if we see it again for just 16 minutes on Sunday, I believe it might well be enough.
League Cup Final
We are in the quarter finals of the FA Cup, playing Reading on March 7th with a very good chance of making the semi-finals and if everything goes to plan, we will get Pompey or Fulham in the next round, but now is the time to forget about last night, the FA Cup and the League. Now is the time to focus on Sunday.
There is talk that Petrov isn't well but there is also talk that he should be fit for Sunday. If he is ill, I hope he doesn't go anywhere near the rest of the squad, but I do hope he is better for Sunday. Expect Big Brad to play and he really should. Defensively, I think it is going to be tough for the manager - does he pick Young or Cuellar and if it is Young, does he pick Collins or Cuellar? Dunne has to play, as does Warnock.
Midfield and up front are areas that O'Neill maybe hasn't made up his mind with yet and I don't think anyone can predict formation or players that will play with any real certainty. The smart money would have to be on 442 with Heskey and Gabby, but Carew scored two last night, okay they were penalties, but he also created them.
Tough decisions for O'Neill on Sunday but all the players will be up for it and all the players will run into a wall for O'Neill given the time and opportunity, so predict your team and formation below and if you are going to the Sports Cafe for a beer on Saturday, let me know, it should be fun and I'm thinking a very early lunch.