Aston Villa v West Brom: (F.A Cup) Preview.

Although both teams are locked in a fierce relegation scrap, the lure of playing at Wembley should ensure that this is a hard fought affair.

Survival come the 24th of May will be both teams priority, but a look at who is remaining in the cup, and both teams will feel that they stand a good chance of lifting the trophy. Bradford host Reading on Saturday before Liverpool face Blackburn on Sunday, whilst the other two Premier League teams (and probable favourites) Manchester United and Arsenal face each other on Monday night.

Aston Villa will have a spring in their step having already beaten their opponents earlier in the week. This gave Tim Sherwood his first points as Villa boss, and it was the team’s first win in 13 games. It was a tense game throughout, with Christian Benteke coolly slotting home a penalty, with the last kick of the game, for a 2-1 victory to lift Villa out of the relegation zone. Although elated after the game, Villa will know that they are far from safe, whilst West Brom are 8 points clear but not out of the woods just yet.

Tony Pulis will have been disappointed to have come away from the midweek game without anything, but it was an uncharacteristically poor defensive showing from a team that had kept 7 clean sheets in their last 10. This was largely due to a few shocking errors from West Brom keeper Ben Foster. So, it will be interesting to see if the former England keeper retains his spot as before this he was in fine form.

There is a week before the next crucial Premier League fixture, meaning that you can expect to see full strength squads for this tie. The winner will reach the semi-finals and play at Wembley, which could give supporters something to cheer about in what has been a disappointing campaign for both teams, who are looking to change their fortunes under new managers. West Brom have made great progress under Pulis, whilst it is early days for Tim Sherwood but he appears to have rejuvenated the squad.

The winner of the tie will be given a boost of reaching the semi-finals, playing at Wembley and potentially facing a beatable team. Whilst the loser will have to dust themselves off and then focus purely on the remaining 10 fixtures, and their survival.

Written by Jonny Hughes [J_Hughes08]