Both Aston Villa and Swansea City lost their respective matches on Boxing Day and will be hoping that they can get back to winning ways when they play each other at Villa Park this weekend.
Paul Lambert’s side have now lost all of their last four league games and will feel particularly hard done by with the late loss at home to Crystal Palace yesterday. Villa are in desperate need of a win to prevent themselves falling further down the table and injuries to key players will not make this any easier.
Swansea lost to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge yesterday but have had a slightly better run than Villa recently and find themselves two places above the home side in the league table. The visitors are also missing key players and so Michael Laudrup will have to choose replacements well if his team are to get the victory.
Villa will have to do without several key players. Christian Benteke and Ron Vlaar are out with injury. Joe Bennett is also injured as well as Charles N’Zogbia. Lambert’s team will be relying on the performance of Brad Guzan more than ever against Swansea’s attacking threat.
Things aren’t much better for Laudrup. Michu, Michel Vorm and Nathan Dyer are all injured. Garry Monk is also unavailable for selection, so it will be interesting how Swansea cope without these key players in their team.
- Aston Villa have lost all of their last four league games.
- They have only managed to win two of their last 10 matches.
- Swansea have only won three of the eight matches they have played away from home.
- The last time the two sides met at Villa Park in September 2012, Aston Villa won 2-0.
Aston Villa – Fabian Delph
Delph has been one of Villa’s better players this season so far and has become an integral part of the team. The midfielder has been passing well and currently has a completion rate of 82%, completing 563 of his 688 passes. In a statistic that fans of the club will be happy to see, Delph has tried to play the ball forward most of all with 35% of his overall passes. However, when we look at how accurate he is in each zone of the pitch then you see he is doing most of this in the defensive area. He has been accurate with 91% of his passes in this area compared to 74% in the attacking zone and just 67% in the final third. Creatively, he has had an impact with 12 chances created but so far has only one assist to his name. Nevertheless, Swansea will have to keep a close eye on Delph in the middle of the park if they to come away with a win.
Swansea – Jonjo Shelvey
The former Liverpool midfielder may not be Swansea’s greatest player but he has been influential on their performances at times this season. So far, he has been able to create 19 chances for his team mates and has a further three assists to his name. He has also managed to create three clear-cut chances. Taking all of this together, it means the youngster is creating a chance every 57 minutes. Looking at his passing the attacking zone of the pitch, he has completed 469 of 648 passes which gives him a completion rate of 72%. He has also 206 of 291 passes in the final third, however this only gives him an accuracy of 71%. Again, Shelvey may not be Swansea’s greatest player but he at least has the ability to change a game for his team.
Aston Villa have been woeful recently and sadly it’s not really surprising to see them perform this way. Swansea have been better but have not come anywhere reaching the highs of last season. That being said, I expect them to be too strong for Villa this weekend and can see it finishing 2-1 to Swansea.