West Midlands Football Blog
3rd November 2016
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Second City Derby

Last weekend Aston Villa took the lead as Gary Gardner headed in from a free-kick, with the boyhood fan then celebrating by running the length of the St Andrew’s pitch to the Villa fans. He was joined by all but Mile Jedinak, who remained footed in the Blues’ half to prevent the hosts from gaining an advantage by kicking off quickly. With less than 20 minutes left, David Davis equalised for the Blues, giving the Blues a point, and avoiding defeat to their city rivals.

Aston Villa

It’ll be like being back in the Premier League for the Villans as they host former Premier League winners and mainstayers Blackburn Rovers. Steve Bruce’s men will hope to build on their Second City Derby draw and extend their unbeaten run with three points over Rovers.

Blackburn sit in 23rd place, although three points could see them haul themselves out of the bottom three. However, Blackburn’s last five games have seen them win only once, draw twice and also lose twice, so it should be a Villa win. Jack Grealish returns from suspension, which should give the hosts a boost, but it’s the Championship and unexpected results are to be expected!

TheBestOfBirmingham Prediction: Villa 2-0 Blackburn

Birmingham City

Failure to beat the Villa means, the Blues sit in seventh place on goal difference facing a tough trip away to high flying Huddersfield Town. Many Bluenoses were adamant they could have won the Second City Derby and the frustration may carry over.

A mixed October has seen Huddersfield lose three times, but two wins have helped them keep their lofty position. In their last ten games, Huddersfield haven’t been involved in a draw. However their last game ended in a 5-0 defeat to midtable Fulham, so the they will either be still licking their wounds or well be vying for blood. It could be a very difficult trip for Gary Rowett’s men.

TheBestOfBirmingham Prediction: Huddersfield 1-1 Blues

West Bromwich Albion

A dominant Manchester City side made easy work of Tony Pulis’ Albion at the weekend, with Sergio Aguero and Ikay Gundogan both getting two each as City demolished the Baggies in a resounding 4-1 win at the Hawthorns.

The Baggies now find themselves only three points above the relegation zone, although a win could send them straight back into midtable territory, as they travel to the King Power to face current champions Leicester City. The Foxes will host the Baggies on the back of a goalless draw away to Copenhagen in the Champions League, making it the perfect time for Albion to travel to Leicester.

TheBestOf Birmingham Prediction: Leicester 0-0 Albion

Paget Rangers

The Bears scored 14 goals as they grabbed all three points last weekend and then proceeded to the second round of the JW Hunt Cup on Tuesday. A 6-0 win courtesy of goals from Mark Bellingham, David Franklin, Luke Bradley and a Daniel Carter hat-trick gave Paget all three points against Hampton last Saturday.

On Tuesday night the Bears were again rampant, as Franklin, Carter and Bellingham all got two goals each and Matt Seeley and Dean Crowley also found the net to send Paget through to the JW Hunt Cup Round of 16.

This weekend the Wee Gers are set to finally play their first home game of the season as they face Fairfield Villa in the first round of the Presidents Cup. Both teams are flying high in the league, with Fairfield sitting two points behind first place Paget. A league meeting between the teams earlier in the season produced a 4-2 win for the Bears, so Jason Lanns’ men should be confident about progressing in the next round of the cup.

On Tuesday, Paget are in cup action again as they take on Division 3 side FC Stratford in the first round of the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup. Meanwhile on both game days, Paget’s promotion rivals Alvis Sporting Club will be playing league games, which means the Wee Gers could see themselves knocked off the top spot.

TheBestOf Birmingham Prediction: Paget 3-1 Fairfield, Paget 6-0 StratfordHe

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Dave Edwards salvaged a point for Wolves as his header cancelled out Sam Gallagher’s early opener, though a draw against a struggling Blackburn team, who are facing problems off the field as well as on it, will have been disappointing, however it’s not unexpected for a team who remain managerless. Speculation suggests that this could change with former Villa man Paul Lambert the favourite to fill the hot seat at Molineux.

This weekend Wolves will host a struggling Derby County. A defeat to 19th placed Derby could see Wolves plunge into the relegation zone if Burton Albion manage a draw and Nottingham Forest, Cardiff City and Wigan Athletic all produce wins at the weekend. Wolves’ season isn’t over yet, of course as the Black Country giants are only six points behind the playoffs, but they’ll need to ensure the gap doesn’t widen if any hopes of promotion remain.

TheBestOf Birmingham Prediction: Wolves 1-1 Derby

Walsall

After a troubling start Walsall now sit solidly in midtable 12th, and their recent 1-1 draw at home to Coventry City sees them only three points behind the playoff places with a game in hand over every team above them.

Walsall are in FA Cup action this weekend as they host Macclesfield Town, and on Tuesday they face Leicester City U21 in the EFL Trophy.

TheBestOf Birmingham Prediction: Walsall 2-0 Macclesfield, Leicester U21 0-2 Walsall

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