VILLA COULD HAVE GIFT OF THE GAB TO CLAIM CARLING CUP

Tags: Football

Published: 12:37 27/02/2010

Sunday's Carling Cup final between Manchester United and Aston Villa looks to be a mouth-watering match-up, as the attacking sides of Sir Alex Ferguson and Martin O'Neill go head-to-head to decide the winner of what has been a brilliantly entertaining competition this season. Villa have a practically full squad to choose from, although their midweek exertions when they beat Championship battlers Crystal Palace in an FA Cup replay may have taken something out of them ahead of the showpiece. United however, do have several selection problems, with newly-appointed England captain Rio Ferdinand ruled out after his perennial back injury flared up again. Jonny Evans is expected to deputise alongside Nemanja Vidic at the centre of defence. There were more midfielder worries for Ferguson earlier this week, when the news that the combative Anderson will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Add to that Owen Hargreaves' continued absence and broken arm victim Ryan Giggs and the Red Devils look very lightweight in midfield. With so many defensive injuries for United to contend with, the pacey Gabriel Agbonlahor is a good bet to frighten his opponent's rearguard and nick a goal, he's at 8/1 with Ladbrokes to open the scoring in the game. But Ferguson is determined not to take the game lightly, and with O'Neill's excellent record as a player and manager in the League Cup he will take nothing for granted. He said: "Wembley is an occasion, but the only way you can enjoy Wembley is by winning - it is not a nice day when you lose."

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