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Aston Villa v Chelsea - Match Preview
Published : 10 Apr 2010 08:42:30
Aston Villa v Chelsea
Follow every kick as Aston Villa take on Chelsea at Wembley in the FA Cup Semi-Final
on 10-Apr-2010, kick off time 17:00
Aston Villa v Chelsea Live
Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill is hopeful midfielder James Milner and central-defender Richard Dunne will be fit for the FA Cup semi-final with Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday.
Milner was rested for the 1-0 win at Bolton last weekend after suffering from a sore Achilles but has resumed training and is expected to play if he suffers no reaction.
Dunne has been nursed through recent weeks with a similar injury and pulled out of training on Thursday, but O'Neill is optimistic he should be available.
O'Neill insists Aston Villa will not be going to Wembley "to make up the numbers".
The Irishman recognises Villa are regarded as underdogs after crashing 7-1 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in a Barclays Premier League encounter only a fortnight ago.
He admits to initially feeling "despondent" in the aftermath of that mauling - Villa's first league reversal of 2010.
But O'Neill is driven on by the prospect of Villa reaching a second major final of the campaign as much as he is in wanting revenge over Carlo Ancelotti's side.
And he has faith in his normally reliable back four, which boasts one of the the best defensive records in the Premier League this season, to stand up to the threat posed by the likes of Didier Drogba.
O'Neill said: "There is no question that for a few days we were all pretty despondent after the Chelsea defeat.
"Chelsea are a fantastic side and played particularly well against us a fortnight ago.
"They must have derived a great deal of confidence from beating us so convincingly and, from our viewpoint, so disappointingly because we caved in during the last half hour.
"The 7-1 got to me at the time. It was a poor defeat because I've never been beaten by seven goals before and it was hard to take.
"But I've had bigger disappointments and, when I put it into perspective, it was just a rank bad day at the office.
"I thought the performance and result at Bolton last weekend showed we had got over it. It was the manner in which we toughed it out at Bolton which was the most satisfying of all."
Chelsea have a doubt over goalkeeper Hilario, who has been first choice during their FA Cup run, but is struggling with
a groin strain. Petr Cech is on standby.
Right-back Branislav Ivanovic will have a late fitness test on his injured knee.
Michael Essien (knee), Ashley Cole (ankle), Ricardo Carvalho (ankle) and Jose Bosingwa (knee) are all sidelined
Midfielder Joe Cole is expecting a far tougher encounter than when the sides last met.
"It's not going to be that easy again," he said. "They're going to be hurt. I have been on the end of 7-1 defeats and it's not nice.
"Those players will want to make sure they don't end up getting another result like that. It won't be 7-1, that's for sure, it's going to be a close game."