This is a big game, especially for Aston Villa. Paul Lambert will be looking to end a run of three defeats which has seen Villa falling down to 13th place in the Premier League table. Aston Villa are a point and a place higher than this time last season, but Villa will have to kick on soon or else Lambert will see his side fighting relegation for the second season in a row.
Crystal Palace are a team on a mission, under the management of Tony Pulis, Crystal Palace are picking up points and have become much tougher to play against. But most recently lose 3-0 to Newcastle over the weekend. Still, Pulis will be traveling to Villa Park with optimism, Aston Villa have only won twice at home and have one of the worst home records in the last two seasons of the Premier League.
On a side-note, Barry Bannan will face his former team for the first time this season. Bannan moved to Crystal Palace on transfer deadline day.
Aston Villa will be without Christian Benteke for the festive season, he is struggling with a knee injury. Meanwhile, Ron Vlaar continues to be a serious doubt, it looks very unlikely he’ll feature. Ashley Westwood is serving a one match suspension whilst Agbonlahor is available again following his recent suspension.
Crystal Palace will be without striker Chamakh who serves a one-match ban. Midfielders Dikgacoi and O’Keefe are still ruled out with muscle injuries.
Aston Villa have failed to score in four of their last five Barclays Premier League home games.
None of the last 13 matches in all competitions between Villa and Palace has ended as an away win (seven home wins, six draws).
Aston Villa took part in the highest scoring Premier League game on December 26 when they drew 4-4 with Chelsea in 2007.
This match will see the two sides with the lowest average possession figures in the 2013-14 Premier League season face one another – Crystal Palace (40.3%) and Aston Villa (42.2%)
Aston Villa have scored only one goal in the first half of their last 12 Premier League matches.
Maroaune Chamakh has attempted only five shots on target in 1239 minutes of Premier League action this season, but he’s scored with four of these shots.
Aston Villa 2-1 Crystal Palace
Firstly, Aston Villa need to win this game. We’ll be in serious trouble if we don’t, we have a good run of fixtures coming up and the players need confidence from a victory against Palace. I reckon we’re more of a threat with Kozak up front, I never thought I’d say that at this point in the season. Agbonlahor and Albrighton remain our most creative players. Palace will be tough, I wouldn’t be surprised if they snatched a draw but I just don’t see too much of a goal threat from Palace. If the defence can be some-what decent, we’ll manage to get the 3 points.