Club Focus – Aston Villa – The return to Wembley

John Carew’s second half hat-trick sent Aston Villa to their second semi-final of the season, despite going into the interval with a two-goal deficit.

The Villans will now play for the second time at the Wembley stadium in what will be an exciting clash against current FA Cup holders, Chelsea. Martin O’Neill was quick to comment on the draw; “We are delighted to be in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and we will take on anybody. Chelsea are one of the best sides in Europe but we will take them on and we certainly don’t fear them”. He said. If Villa can dispose of the tournament’s current favourites, O’Neill’s side will be well on course for their first piece of silverware.

While the Villa players can celebrate what turned out to be a 4-2 thrashing of Reading, their dire first-half performance will not be forgotten. In the first-half, Reading were without a doubt the better side and they warranted their two goal lead. Reading began the game playing high-tempo football, surprising a Villa side that still appeared to be hung-over from their Carling Cup final heartache. Their control over the game was evident after one of a series of corners found Shane Long who put the home side in front after 27 minutes. Perhaps the decision to disallow John Carew’s goal for an offside was still on the player’s minds as the Birmingham side looked vulnerable when Reading attacked. The Royals were 2-0 up three minutes before half-time after Gylfi Sigurdsson’s pass sent through Jimmy K

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