Five key battles ahead of Aston Villa v Bradford City semi-final decider

Benteke Villa

Where on the pitch could this Premier League vs League Two fixture be won and lost?

Bradford City travel to Villa Park tonight to take on Premier League opposition once again in their final hurdle before a League Cup final appearance at Wembley. The Bantams also take an impressive 3-1 lead with them to the Midlands but Paul Lambert has been doing his utmost to fire his side up for the game in the build-up.

The game should be exciting as Villa will come out to attack but there are five key battles that could just shape the outcome of this frenetic fixture.

Here they are.

Ron Vlaar v Nahki Wells

Aston Villa were without their stalwart Dutch international centre-back for the first leg and his return is a massive boost for the side ahead of the return tie at Villa Park. He will be charged with the duties of keeping a wrap on the talented Bermudan forward who has attracted widespread praise for his Capital One Cup displays thus far. His pace might trouble the Aston Villa defensive rock and it should be an interesting battle of steadfast experience versus youthful exuberance.

Andreas Weimann v Carl McHugh

The young centre back has performed wonders for The Bantams this season but this is likely to be his sternest test yet. There is talk he could be replaced in the first team by recent signing Michael Nelson but if he retains his first-team footing keeping quiet the back to fitness Austrian international will be of major importance if Bradford are going to make it to Wembley.

Charles N’Zogbia v Curtis Good

N’Zogbia had a dire first leg but returned to form against West Brom this weekend. He loves attacking down the right hand side and Australian loanee Good is likely to be employed at left back to prevent that threat.

Gabriel Agbonlahor v Stephen Darby

Arguably Darby has been the best player for Bradford throughout the campaign and another strong performance at right-back will be vital to preventing Villa from scoring the goals to take them through. Villa are likely to line-up for an attacking display and Agbonlahor will do everything in his power to beat Darby in this individual battle.

Christian Benteke v Matt Duke

The biggest battle of them all will be whether the Belgian goal-threat can beat the in-form Duke between the sticks for Bradford. The goalkeeper has been in great form in recent weeks and is one of the main reasons Bradford have this two-goal advantage tonight. If he can perform at that same level then he might just see Bradford through.

Who do you think will come out on top?

images: © mollyig, © little-pete

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