Aston Villa will be looking to continue their good form against Swansea City at Villa Park on Saturday. The Villains have managed to move 3 points clear of the relegation zone since Tim Sherwood’s appointment and have won two games in a row for the first time since the beginning of December. A win at home to Swansea on Saturday would be the first time the club have won 3 games in a row this season, a feat they haven’t achieved in each of the past 3 seasons. Swansea City meanwhile are in a position of comfort in the league. The Welsh side occupy 9th in the league with no worry of relegation and little chance of achieving a European finish. Arguably Swansea would be forgiven for being one of those teams that go on auto-pilot already, but they ran Liverpool close in their last league showing indicating that Monk’s men aren’t ready to pack in just yet. Every point is important for Villa at this point as they look to steer further away from the bottom 3 and a home game against Swansea may be a match that Sherwood has earmarked as somewhere they should at least be coming away with at least a point to aid their effort. It could come down too how interested Swansea are in securing their position in the top half of the table as it is a game that the Swans should see as winnable given the season they have had thus far.
Currently Villa’s physio room is one of the more cosy in the Premier League. The midlands side currently have 7 names queuing for spot on the physio table, including names like; Ron Vlaar, Ally Cissokho, Kieran Richardson, Chris Herd, Nathan baker, Phillipe Senderos and Libor Kozak. With Vlaar, Cissokho and Richardson all chalked down for returns by the visit of Swansea it is hard to say whether they will go straight back into the side considering the good run of form the currently starting 11 is showing.
Garry Monk has a near full complement to select from ahead of the trip to Villa. The only player out injured for the Swans is Kyle Batley who is scheduled to return in two weeks’ time
The last the two sides met at Villa park they played out a 1-1 draw in December 2013.
Villa are looking to win 3 games in a row for the first time this season. In each of the last 3 seasons (so far) they have not managed to achieve this
Villa have only managed 1 win in their last 5 games against Swansea
In 10 meetings at Villa Park Swansea have only managed 1 victory
Villa have won double the amount of meetings (12) that Swansea City have won (6) when the teams have met in the past.
You have to go back to September 2012 for the last time Villa secured a win over Swansea. It was a 2-0 win at Villa Park
Aston Villa – Christian Benteke
If a team wants to survive relegation they need goals. Villa have only managed to score 19 goals so far this season, 6 of which were scored in their last 2 fixtures. The best thing about this surge in finding the net is that Benteke is chipping in again. The big Belgian only have 5 goals this season so far, 3 of that 5 were scored in the past 2 games. If Benteke has decided to find that goal scoring form that made in a target for some of the league’s biggest side it could be what saves Aston Villa from relegation. Having gotten his goal tally in to double figures in his past 2 season Benteke will be hoping that a late resurgence in front of goal could let that trend continue. It all works to help Aston Villas confidence as a team, picking up results makes you confident, scoring goals makes you feel confident and Benteke finding form will work both ways. The rest of the side will feel confident of picking up results because he is capable of scoring for them, and he will feel like he could get some goals because the players around him are playing with confidence. He can be a handful to any defence on his day and Swansea’s centre back pairing will be in for a tough 90 minutes if the Villa striker turns up looking for a battle as he has as of late.
Swansea City – Ki Sung-Yueng
With Bony’s departure Ki Sung-Yueng is currently Swansea’s top goal scorer in the League this season. Hardly the statistics table he expected to be topping but it is a reflection of how key a player he has been for the Welsh side this season. After being deemed surplus to requirements last season and shipped out on loan to Sunderland, Ki has transformed into the lynchpin of the Swansea midfield. With players like Shelvey and Sigurdsson expect to supply the creativity in the final third it is Ki that is expected to retain possession for the Swans and dictate the tempo of the game in the midfield. His 6 goals have been a welcome addition to the quiet game he usually plays for his sides rarely giving up possession for his teams. He has outscored everyone on the current squad, only 3 players have created more chances than him for Swansea (19) and only 3 have more league appearances than him this season (26). Monk has obviously realised how important he is to the Swansea side and in an away game like at Villa Park he will look to Ki to try and stifle any of the momentum Villa look to create in their favour. Perhaps he will add to his goal tally again, it would be surprise given the season he is having
It will be an interesting game Saturday with the home side having a lot more to play for than their visitors. Another 3 points would go a long way to aiding Villa’s safety bid, but Swansea have got a chance to establish themselves as a top half side. Their highest finish since promotion to the Premier League was a 9th place finish 2 seasons ago, a position they are more than capable of finishing above this season as it stands. It is the first time in a while that Villa are heading into a match with as much momentum. Not only have they won 2 in a row in the league but there was the FA cup quarter final win fitted in between. Villa will put in a good performance but I can see Swansea managing a draw at Villa Park
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