Premier League preview: Aston Villa host Crystal Palace at Villa Park
Last Updated: 24/12/13 12:05pm
Paul Lambert: His side welcome Crystal Palace to Villa Park
Aston Villa welcome Crystal Palace to Villa Park on Boxing Day, with both sides looking to return to winning ways.
The hosts have suffered defeat in their last three Premier League outings and have not claimed three points at home since the 2-0 win over Cardiff on November 9.
Paul Lambert's side have slipped to 13th in the table following their recent run of poor form and just six points now separates themselves and the relegation zone which they will be hoping to pull away from with a positive result.
Palace enter the game having lost their last two, although their 3-0 defeat to Newcastle was their first loss at home since October.
The arrival of Tony Pulis appears to have boosted the Eagles' survival chances, but they have only managed to claim three points on the road just once this season, beating Hull 1-0 last month.
Depending on other results, a rare away win for Palace could see them climb out of the bottom three for the first time since September.
Paul Merson's prediction
This is a massive game and one that Villa have to win, in my opinion. If they lose, I think they could become one of the teams that get relegated; you always get a side that gets on a slippery slope and can't win a game for toffee and, with Christian Benteke out, Villa are in trouble.
If Villa don't beat Palace that will be four on the trot without a win and even though Palace have been brought back down to earth and are making bad mistakes, I think they will do enough to get a draw as Villa will really miss Benteke.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1
Villa are set to be without last season's top scorer Christian Benteke, who has been ruled out for the Christmas period with a knee injury.
However, Gabriel Agbonlahor is available for selection once again having served his one-match suspension.
Ashley Westwood will miss out due to a one-match ban for picking up five yellow cards, while captain Ron Vlaar (calf) is a major doubt.
Palace striker Marouane Chamakh will be absent for the visitors after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in the 3-0 defeat to Newcastle.
Tony Pulis has a number of injury worries to contend with, but Stuart O'Keefe (muscle injury) and Kagisho Dikgacoi (hamstring) could return if they pass late fitness tests.
Jerome Thomas (calf), Adlene Guedioura (rib), Jack Hunt (ankle), Glenn Murray (ACL knee ligament injury) and Paddy McCarthy (groin) are all set to miss the trip to Villa Park.
Previous game's starting line-ups
- 31 Given
- 21 Hutton
- 5 Okore
- 6 Clark
- 18 Richardson
- 7 Bacuna
- 25 Carles Gil
- 24 Sanchez
- 8 Cleverley
- 20 Benteke
- 10 Weimann
Team taken from Aston Villa vs Bournemouth (The FA Cup sponsored by Budweiser) on Sunday 25th January 2015
- 13 Hennessey
- 2 Ward
- 6 Dann
- 27 Delaney
- 34 Kelly
- 11 Zaha
- 28 Ledley
- 18 McArthur
- 10 Campbell
- 29 Chamakh
- 9 Sanogo
Team taken from Crystal Palace vs Southampton (The FA Cup sponsored by Budweiser) on Saturday 24th January 2015
Barclays Premier League
Thu 26th Dec
Hull City2 - 3Man Utd
A Villa0 - 1C Palace
Cardiff0 - 3So'ton
Chelsea1 - 0Swansea
Everton0 - 1S'land
Newcastle5 - 1Stoke
Norwich1 - 2Fulham
Tottenham1 - 1W Brom
West Ham1 - 3Arsenal
Man City2 - 1Liverpool
Barclays Premier League
|7||West Ham United||22||36|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||22||22|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||22||19|