Having put up an impressive performance against Manchester United at home, Aston Villa travel to Liberty Stadium to face Swansea in a festive Boxing Day tie. Their hosts for the night currently sit in 8th spot with 25 points while Villa themselves are in 12th place with 20 points. The congested Premier League table can often result in a quick demise and both the managers will be keen to add to their existing kitty of points.
The arrival of January means the departure of key players across the Premier League to play in the African Nations Cup and the Asian Cup. Swansea are no different, as they prepare for a month without influential players Bony and Ki Sung-Yueng. However, both the players remain available for this tie and would play a crucial role in it. In more good news for the Swans’ faithful, manager Garry Monk is hopeful that influential midfielder Sigurdsson and winger Montero will be fit to feature against Aston Villa. After missing the last game, midfielder Leon Britton too is expected to be in the fold.
The club had a second player sent off in successive games when Gabriel Agbonlahor was given his marching orders for a challenge on Ashley Young. The club is set to appeal against what they consider an underserved sending off and it remains to be seen if Agbonlahor can take part in the game on Friday. However, no doubts linger on the suspension of Kieran Richardson, who was sent off against West Brom. The club has injury worries with Westwood (Knee) and Baker (Knee) ruled out for this tie. However, Joe Cole (Hamstring) and Senderos (Calf) could play a role in the game as they are expected to make a return from their respective injuries.
- Wilfried Bony has now scored 20 Premier League goals in 2014, more than any other player in the Premier League.
- Siggurdson has been crucial to Swansea’s play as he has been involved in 10 of the 22 goals scored (2 goals and 8 assists).
- He also leads the chances created charts for Swansea having created a total of 41 chances.
- In comparison, Aston Villa’s top creator has been Westwood with 22 chances.
Possible Line Up
SCFC: Tremmel, Rangel, Fredrico, Williams, Taylor, Sung-Yueng, Shelvey, Sigurdsson, Montero, Routledge, Bony
AVFC: Guzan, Lowton, Okore, Vlaar, Clark, Cissokho, Sanchez, Delph, Weimann, Cole, Benteke
The young midfielder could play a very crucial role in the tie against Aston Villa as the Swans look to overpower a depleted yet upbeat Aston Villa side, alongside Sigurdsson and Ki. His performances this season haven’t matched the quality of performances last season. A regular feature under the Garry Monk regime, the former Liverpool player needs to find his rhythm soon and we believe his tenacity and range of passing could come in handy against the Villa side. However, in his attempt to break play with his passing, Shelvey often loses possession and his ability to make better use of passing opportunities could help the club dominate in the middle of the park.
The Englishman’s stock has risen considerably since being picked for England duty and he was impressive yet again on Saturday with his tireless performance against Manchester United. With injuries to crucial midfielders like Cole and Westwood and the suspension of Richardson, Delph and the Villa midfield will have to be at their best to prevent a strong Swansea midfield from finding their feet and linking up with the attacking forces. Delph has averaged a passing accuracy close to 85% and has shown a penchant to beat his man with his dribbling ability, and these will be crucial to break down a dogged Swansea midfield.
Head To Head
|2013/2014||Sat 26 Apr||Swansea City||4 – 1||Aston Villa||Premier League|
|Sat 28 Dec||Aston Villa||1 – 1||Swansea City||Premier League|
|2012/2013||Tue 01 Jan||Swansea City||2 – 2||Aston Villa||Premier League|
|Sat 15 Sep||Aston Villa||2 – 0||Swansea City||Premier League|
|2011/2012||Mon 02 Jan||Aston Villa||0 – 2||Swansea City||Premier League|
|Sun 27 Nov||Swansea City||0 – 0||Aston Villa||Premier League|
A full strength Swansea team could be a handful to deal with for a depleted yet up-beat Aston Villa side. We predict a 2-0 win for the Swans.