Aston Villa - West Brom Preview: Lambert looking to exploit Baggies' defensive crisis
The Villans' manager is looking to build on a fine 4-2 League Cup win at Manchester City on Wednesday night by putting Steve Clarke's injury-laden defence to the sword on Sunday
By Tom J Doyle
Lichaj, Vlaar, Dunne, Lowton
N'Zogbia, Bannan, El Ahmadi, Holman
Jones, Olsson, McAuley, Tamas
Fortune, Gera, Brunt
Richard Dunne (groin) is scheduled to make his comeback for Aston Villa on Sunday, although Stephen Ireland (wrist) will miss out after Paul Lambert revealed he had broken a bone, ruling him out for a number of weeks.
Craig Gardner (anterior cruciate ligament) remains out of contention until May 2013, and there is still no return date for Stiliyan Petrov, who has been suffering from leukaemia.
Peter Odemwingie misses this game for the Baggies as part of his three-match suspension for being sent off against Fulham, with Romelu Kulaku or Shane Long likely to take a position up front as a result.
James Morrison (knock) and Stephen Reid (hamstring) are likely to miss out for the visitors, while Liam Ridgewell (calf) and Goran Popov (groin) mean West Brom could be facing a defensive crisis.
Midfielder Jerome Thomas (knee) is also out until next weekend's visit to Swansea at the earliest.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Aston Villa have won 42 of the 74 meetings between the sides at Villa Park.
- West Brom have good recent form against Villa winning two of the last three meetings, with the other being a draw.
- Aston Villa's biggest ever losing margin came against West Brom, losing 7-0 at home in 1935.
- Both teams' highest ever scoring draw was when the sides battled to a 4-4 draw in 1934.
- West Brom's highest scoring loss came against Aston Villa, losing 6-3 at home to the Villans in 1893.
- Aston Villa have scored five goals in five league games this season, with five different scorers.
- Romelu Lukaku (pictured) is the Baggies' leading scorer in the Premier League this season, notching two goals so far.
- The Baggies have taken 10 points from their opening five games and sit in fourth position, their best start to top-flight a season in 58 years.
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Top 3 Predictions
Aston Villa 2-1 West Bromwich Albion
- 15.45 %
Aston Villa 1-2 West Bromwich Albion
- 12.45 %
Aston Villa 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
- 11.59 %
|Premier League (EPL)||19 Jan 2013||West Bromwich Albion 2 - Aston Villa 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||30 Sep 2012||Aston Villa 1 - West Bromwich Albion 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||28 Apr 2012||West Bromwich Albion 0 - Aston Villa 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||22 Oct 2011||Aston Villa 1 - West Bromwich Albion 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||30 Apr 2011||West Bromwich Albion 2 - Aston Villa 1|
|19 May 2013||Wigan Athletic 2 - Aston Villa 2||EPL|
|11 May 2013||Aston Villa 1 - Chelsea FC 2||EPL|
|4 May 2013||Norwich City 1 - Aston Villa 2||EPL|
|29 Apr 2013||Aston Villa 6 - Sunderland 1||EPL|
|22 Apr 2013||Manchester United 3 - Aston Villa 0||EPL|
|8||Karim El Ahmadi||Midfielder|
|30||Sebastien Gabriel Tamaş||Defender|
|11||Yassine El Ghanassy||Striker|
The English forward has struggled for games this season, but shone with two strikes against Manchester City on Wednesday. When in such fine form, there are few defenders in the league that can cope with Agbonlahor's explosive pace and eye for goal, and Lambert will be hoping that the 25-year-old can finally buckle down and fulfil his potential. A great bet for a goal against a shaky Baggies defence.
The Chelsea loan signing looked sharp against Liverpool in midweek, always eager to get in to goalscoring positions and take on the burden of creating chances for himself. With a good supply from midfield, his strength and pace will be vital in leading the line away from home, and his height could prove the difference from set-pieces.
Paul Lambert's side started brightly against Southampton last Saturday but faded badly, but a great 4-2 victory at Manchester City in the League Cup on Wednesday, will give them renewed confidence. However, the hosts could struggle for possession with Stephen Ireland out injured. Despite going out of the League Cup to Liverpool's youngsters on Wednesday, Steve Clarke's side played some impressive football and have been in good form this season, but injuries at the back could stretch them to breaking point.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed