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Premier League

  • 2 January 2012
  • • 15:00
  • • Villa Park, Birmingham
  • Referee: A. Taylor
  • • Attendance: 35642
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Aston Villa - Swansea City Preview: Both sides looking to build on positive New Year's Eve results as Swans seek their first away win of the season

Fresh from humbling Chelsea in London, Villans hope to improve an indifferent home record as Brendan Rodgers' side, so impressive in Wales, attempt to break their duck on the road


PROBABLE LINEUPS

ASTON VILLA

Guzan
Cuellar, Dunne, Collins, Warnock
Albrighton, Petrov, Ireland, N'Zogbia
Agbonlahor, Bent

SWANSEA CITY

 
Vorm
Rangel, Williams, Monk, Taylor
Dyer, Allen, Gower, Sinclair
Dobbie
Moore
                                                                     
Man-of-the-match against Chelsea on Saturday, Stephen Ireland looks certain to retain his place against Swansea, when Villa manager Alex McLeish could decide to recall Darren Bent to the starting XI. Having recovered from a thigh injury, Villa's main marksman Bent came off the bench in the 78th minute against Chelsea, replacing Charles N'Zogbia, and scored the third goal in the 3-1 win.

To accommodate Bent, McLeish may drop Ciaran Clark to the bench. Striker Emile Heskey has suffered a recurrence of an Achilles injury and is unlikely to be involved, while goalkeeper Shay Given is not yet fully fit. Full-back Alan Hutton has completed his suspension and was an unused substitute at Stamford Bridge. He may well be named on the bench again.

Brendan Rodgers will probably opt to keep largely the same side that earned an impressive point at home to Tottenham on Saturday after coming from behind. Angel Rangel could start at right-back though, having replaced Jazz Richards at half-time after Richards had endured a torrid first-half against Gareth Bale.

Stephen Dobbie and Luke Moore probably did enough up front against Spurs to retain their starting places, which could mean Danny Graham again starting on the bench.


DID YOU KNOW?

  • Aston Villa haven’t won at home since beating Norwich City 3-2 at Villa Park on November 5.
  • Since then they have lost three successive home games - though these were against top-six sides Manchester United (0-1), Liverpool (0-2) and Arsenal (1-2).
  • Villa have won three home games in the Premier League this season, drawing two and losing four.
  • Victory at Stamford Bridge on Saturday extended an unbeaten away run to four consecutive matches.
  • That unbeaten run on the road began with a 0-0 draw against Swansea on November 27. That match at the Liberty Stadium was the only other meeting between the two clubs in the Premier League.
  • Villa boss Alex McLeish had urged Stephen Ireland (pictured right) to create headlines on the pitch following the appearance of a controversial photo on Twitter, posted by his girlfriend, that showed him with a smoking pipe in one hand and a drink in the other. Ireland responded with a dominant performance against Chelsea in which he scored Villa's first goal in a 3-1 win.
  • Swansea City have the worst away record in the Premier League, and following Blackburn's victory at Old Trafford on New Year's Eve are the only team yet to win on their travels.
  • The Swans also share with Fulham and Stoke the distinction of scoring fewest away goals in the League so far - six apiece
  • The Welsh team have drawn their two latest games 1-1, both at home, but haven’t won in the league since December 10 when they defeated Fulham 2-0 at the Liberty Stadium.
  • Although no team has conceded fewer goals at home than Swansea (four), the Swans have let in 19 away from home - the joint fourth highest total in the league.
  • Scott Sinclair, who scored their equaliser against Tottenham, is Swansea's second top scorer this season with five goals, one fewer than Danny Graham.

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Players to watch

S. Ireland

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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  • 0
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The sometimes controversial Irishman came back with a bang at Stamford Bridge on Saturday after angering Alex McLeish with his off-the-field posing, and if he can maintain that sort of form, pulling the strings in midfield and influencing the game in a positive fashion, he could prove to be Villa's match-winner. Consistency will be the key.

S. Sinclair

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Along with Danny Graham, former Chelsea starlet Sinclair has accounted for more than half of all Swansea's goals so far this season (11 out of 18). Sinclair grabbed his fifth in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham, a poacher's goal, and Brendan Rodgers will be looking for more opportunist finishing from him as the Swans attempt to boost their meagre away record.

Editor's Prediction

Both teams will be buoyed by excellent results at the weekend, but face the challenge of building momentum on the back of them. For Villa it is a case of finding the winning formula at home for the first trime in almost two months; Swansea - so hard tro break down at the Liberty Stadium - must now overcome the psychological barrier of achieving their first Premier League win away from home. The odds are probably slightly in Villa's favour, but the Welsh side have lately shown enough battling qualities - and composed possessiopn football - to suggest they can garner a point at Villa Park.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Aston Villa

Swansea City

Wins
1
2
2
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Aston Villa FC AST
Aston Villa FC Aston Villa
Draw
Swansea City AFC SWA
Swansea City AFC Swansea City
77%

Top 3 Predictions

Aston Villa FC AST
2 - 1
Swansea City AFC SWA
Aston Villa FC AST
2 - 0
Swansea City AFC SWA
Aston Villa FC AST
1 - 0
Swansea City AFC SWA

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