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Villa. Again. Hurray?

2002, 2004, 2007, 2008... it's getting difficult to imagine a third round FA Cup tie without Villa v United as the teams have been drawn together again.

United will travel to Villa Park in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. It's a familiar thing as it has happened for the fourth time since 2002.

We have plenty to savour from the previous meetings though. The 2002 tie was a real classic: we looked dead and buried as Villa stormed to a two-goal lead and were still two up with only 12 minutes to go. I must admit that in the 78th minute of that game, I felt we had little chance to progress.

However, in the 83rd minute we were already 3-2 up in one of the most amazing comebacks of the club's history. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the then irresistible Ruud van Nistelrooy destroyed Villa's hopes of a shock victory and steered United into the fourth round. It was a massive disappointment that after such a brilliant win, we got knocked out at Old Trafford by Middlesbrough.

2003 saw us avoiding Villa, with Portsmouth and West Ham beaten before an ugly defeat to Arsenal ended our hopes. The draw for next year's FA Cup brought Villa again and though it was less dramatic, it bore a certain resemblance to the game of two years before.

Villa took the lead, through Gareth Barry I believe, but United gradually took control and again scored two goals in quick succession to turn the tie on its head and dump the Villains out. It was pretty straightforward: we were the better team on the day and went on to win the FA Cup by disposing of Millwall in the final, with Ronaldo on song.

An unbelievable Villa-less gap follows here as two years had passed without an Aston Villa v Manchester United FA Cup game. However, last season's cup draw paired us again and it brought the prospect of playing them three times over a little less than a month.

United won the league games but were made to work hard at Old Trafford. Henrik Larsson scored on his debut but Baros, taking advantage of some lack of focus, equalised and our profligacy meant we had to wait until the 92th minute for the winner when Villa keeper Gabor Kiraly let in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's weak shot.

You don't really have to be a genius to work out that we have won the previous three third round ties against Villa in the 21st century. Add to that that we haven't lost any fixture at Villa Park since 1995 and that we have won there 4-1 this autumn and you might say we've got a favourable draw.

However, and be warned, a cliché is coming up, every sequences are bound to end sooner or later. Just think of Liverpool's 85 years of FA Cup pain against us, ended by that Crouch header in 2006 in the game that started the deterioration of the relationship between Fergie and Ruud. So my ever pessimistic nature does not allow me to be entirely optimistic about our chances, especially seeing the opponents our biggest rivals have been drawn with...

But we can't complain, surely. If anyone's got the right to moan about this draw, they are the Villa fans and players...




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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday December 2 2007

Time: 6:46PM

Your Comments

Must agree realy! Can't reali see us winning, even at home! Villa Park is supposed to be Man Utd's 2nd home! Having said that you did loose against Coventry in the League Cup, you never know in the FA Cup!
ChrisyB's Villa
Every dog has his day...woof woof.....if and when we win it will be so sweet...the question is will you be able to swallow the bitter pill?....i somehow doubt it!!
imavillan
Another cliche, but if Villa perform as we know they are capable (i.e. 2nd half against Arsenal) then we'll have a good shot at progressing, but if we don't play at that level (and for 90mins) then ManU will no doubt turn us over again if they play to form. I've seen ManU have some pretty off days so far this season where I am pretty sure we'd have been capable of beating you. Having said that though, last time we met I thought that was a perfect time to be playing you, but you ended up playing your best game of the season against us. So a lot of ifs and buts, but whatever happens it should be another good game, and although i'm not as confident as some of the other Villains posting here, I do think we'll give you a better game this time compared to earlier in the season.
YatesyVillain
Will be more difficult than the league game, surely. However, I can't help feeling it's something of a lucky charm to be drawn against Villa - we always progress!
midlothian99
We are going to win, no question (I've convinced myself!!) and I'm just looking to beating Chelsea in the 4th round. Easy.
The Fear
Convincing Wiin..But My God Ow Many Times Will We Play Villa In The F.a Cup. ! :)
H4RL3Y-MUFCRON4LDO
 

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