FA Cup Quarterfinal Preview

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Jul 23, 2014; Frisco, TX, USA; Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph (16) dribbles during the game against the FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Aston Villa vs. West Bromwich Albion

Where: Villa Park in Witton, Birmingham, England

When: Saturday, March 7 at 12:30pm Eastern

Overview: The Midlands rivals faced off just this past Tuesday. If the excitement from that match was a precursor, round 2 is definitely worth a watch. After dominating the first half, Aston Villa were only able to drive one past Baggies keeper, Ben Foster. The Villans seemingly paid for not burying their chances when West Brom equalized through Saido Berahino. In the dying embers of the match, Aston Villa found their chance and winner via a Christian Benteke penalty. The win took the Claret and Blue out of the relegation zone; this match will see one of the Midlands sides through to Wembley.

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Aston Villa eye former Unai Emery prodigy to replace Philippe Coutinho
Aston Villa eye former Unai Emery prodigy to replace Philippe Coutinho /

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  • Aston Villa, prior to their win a few days back, had been in quite the tailspin. The board hired Tim Sherwood in hopes of bringing a once proud side out of an embarrassing relegation battle. The win was Aston Villa’s first EPL victory since December 12. It’s fair to say that goals have been difficult to come by. While many teams have their leading scorer in double digits by March, Aston Villa’s trio of leaders only have 4 goals each. Forwards Christian Benteke, Andreas Weimann, and Gabriel Agbonlahor hold those honors. Aston Villa will need more from them if they are to advance to the FA Cup semi-finals.

    West Bromwich Albion have been in good form, despite the loss a few days ago, since Tony Pulis was brought on to manage the side. As a matter of fact, staying true to the idea that Pulis employs tactically disciplined defenses, the Baggies hadn’t conceded a goal since February 8th. They had gone 4 matches in a row with clean sheets, including their impressive 5th round FA Cup trouncing of West Ham United, 4-0. Saido Berahino has undoubtedly been West Brom’s most threatening player with 14 goals across all competitions, more than 3 times the amount Villa’s leading scorers and 2 more than the trio’s goals combined. After mentioning that he wants to move to a bigger club much to the West Brom faithful’s chagrin, Berahino needs to let his play do the talking.

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    Daryl Dike finally off the mark for West Bromwich Albion
    Daryl Dike finally off the mark for West Bromwich Albion /

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  • Players to Watch: Even though Christian Benteke scored the winner and his confidence is important for Villa, it’s Gabriel Agbonlahor who needs to keep his motor running all match. The pacey winger caused all sorts of problems on Tuesday night at Villa Park and a repeat performance will surely lead to another Aston Villa win.

    There is no doubt that West Brom will be absorbing pressure much of the match. That’s simply the tactical method used by Tony Pulis sides. Thus, it will be important for keeper Ben Foster to put the horrendous error from Tuesday behind him. He will be called on to keep the Baggies in the match and maybe earn them a win or replay. This could all be irrelevant if Pulis decides to go with Boaz Myhill, which is also very possible.

    Prediction: Aston Villa 1, West Bromwich Albion 1. There is no way Pulis’ side concedes 2 goals again, is there? This should be an exciting match to watch. Sadly, this is the only FA Cup match that Fox Sports is not covering. Hopefully they’ll have the replay available for people in the States to watch.

    Next: Liverpool vs. Blackburn Rovers