Aston Villa continue revival of form against out of favour Crystal Palace
Aston Villa to win 1-0
Aston Villa have shaken off their mixed run of form by winning two and drawing another of their last three league matches.
They had risen to as high as 2nd in the table after their first four matches, but following four defeats from their next five matches slipped to as low as 11th. Last week’s win over West Brom took them back into the top half.
Despite their mixed form, Villa only need win their two matches in hand to see them move back into the top four, considering the inconsistent form other teams are suffering from this season.
Crystal Palace have been more cold than hot this season, playing well on occasions, particularly earlier in the season, but of late they have lost their way somewhat, culminating in a 7-0 thrashing against Liverpool last weekend.
That defeat will have knocked the stuffing out of them, but they must recover quickly or face being dragged into a survival scrap.
Form Guide (all comps): LLWDW
Reasons to be cheerful:
Thrashing West Brom shows they are back to best
Return of 22 points after 12 games is best since 2001-02
Reasons to be fearful:
Home form is far worse than away form
Palace have the ability to spring a surprise
As well as Aston Villa have played this season, they owe their form to results picked up on their travels rather than at home at Villa Park.
On just away form, they would 3rd in the league, winning five out of their six matches. At home, it’s another story entirely, whereby they would sit 14th, with just two wins from six.
They will need to address that this weekend, and face a Crystal Palace side whose confidence must be shot to pieces after conceding seven against Liverpool.
On the other hand, Villa are firing on all cylinders again, with the returning Ross Barkley providing real energy in midfield. The likes of Cash, Douglas Luiz and El Ghazi have all battled through suspension and injury in recent weeks to find form.
Star Man – Jack Grealish
Sensational performance against West Brom, assisting Villa’s second goal which killed off the match.
Form Guide (all comps): LWDDL
Reasons to be cheerful
Are comfortably above the relegation zone despite mixed form
Looked good against West Ham and Tottenham
Reasons to be fearful
Losing 7-0 will see their confidence take a beating
Need to reshuffle defensive personnel
Roy Hodgson will be able to welcome back Christian Benteke to his side against the striker’s old club Aston Villa, after serving a one-match suspension.
The goal scorer has performed well for his side since re-joining the club, netting three times in nine matches and is their second-top scorer behind Wilf Zaha with seven.
Hodgson must concentrate on his defence as a priority, however. They took a battering as they lost 7-0 to Liverpool last weekend, with Gary Cahill suffering an injury which may keep him out of this one.
Villa do not quite have the firepower which Liverpool possess, but they certainly have some top-class players who can exploit any weaknesses in the Palace defence if they are not careful.
Palace must dig in here to avoid another embarrassing defeat.
Star Man – Christian Benteke
The big striker was missed last weekend, and always provides a goal threat up front.
Aston Villa should boss possession
Palace will look to hit them on the counter
Villa slight favourites for this
Villa know they must improve their home form of just two wins from six if they are to claim the three points here – they have not been as clinical in front of goal at Villa Park this season.
Nevertheless, they possess fantastic players which manager Dean Smith has coached well and progressed since last season. He’ll be confident of claiming victory here.
Aston Villa to win 1-0