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Premier League

  • May 6, 2012
  • • 14:00
  • • Villa Park, Birmingham
  • Referee: L. Probert
  • • Attendance: 36008
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Aston Villa - Tottenham Preview: Alex McLeish looks to address home truths for his relegation-haunted side

The Villans will be hoping to find a winning formula after a dismal run which has seen them fail to secure victory at their Villa Park ground since way back in November

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

ASTON VILLA

Given
 Hutton, Dunne, Cuellar, Lichaj

Clark, Warnock,
N'Zogbia, Ireland,
Agbonlahor
Heskey

TOTTENHAM

Friedel
 Walker, Kaboul, Gallas, Rose

Lennon, Parker, Modric, Bale
Van der Vaart
Adebayor


Aston Villa striker Darren Bent has ruled himself out of his side's final two Premier League games and so misses out against his former club.

Alex McLeish is also without Marc Albrighton, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season, whilst Stiliyan Petrov is still recovering after being diagnosed with leukaemia.

Emile Heskey faces a late fitness test on an Achilles injury but is expected to lead the line with Charles N'Zogbia and Gabriel Agbonlahor supporting him.

Tottenham welcome back Scott Parker after the industrious midfielder missed the last two matches with an Achilles injury of his own.

Luka Modric and Kyle Walker are both huge doubts for the visitors, with the latter believed to be willing to have a painkilling injection in an effort to be able to play.

Club captain Ledley King is expected to miss out with a knee injury and joins a lengthy list of absentees on the sidelines.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Alex McLeish's Birmingham City side had two points more at the same stage last season (39) than Aston Villa currently have (37) and still ended up being relegated.
  • Villa have drawn 16 league matches this season (seven of them 0-0) which is just one short of the Premier League record set by Villa themselves in 2006-07 and Newcastle in 2003-04.
  • The club need to win their remaining two games to better their lowest ever Premier League points tally of 42 from 2005-06.
  • Aston Villa have scored just once in their last five Premier League games, picking up two points from a possible 15.
  • The opening goal scored by Luka Modric (pictured right) against Bolton on Wednesday was Tottenham's first away from home since they went 2-0 up at Arsenal on February 26, 66 days ago.
  • If Spurs win their last two matches they will finish with 71 points, which will be their highest top-flight tally since the 1986-87 season (also 71 points).
  • The Bolton victory was Harry Redknapp's side's first victory away from White Hart Lane in the league in 2012.
  • Tottenham are unbeaten in their last six league matches against Aston Villa.
  • Spurs recorded 2-1 victories over the Villans at home and away last season, with Rafael van der Vaart scoring twice on both occasions and Marc Albrighton netting Villa's goal each time
  • Spurs have lost just one of their last six matches at Villa Park.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
31Shay GivenGoalkeeper
6Alan HuttonDefender
13Stephen WarnockDefender
5Richard DunneDefender
6Ciaran ClarkDefender
24Carlos Javier CuéllarDefender
43Eric LichajDefender
32Stephen IrelandMidfielder
-Charles N'ZogbiaMidfielder
17Chris HerdMidfielder
-Emile HeskeyStriker
1Bradley GuzanGoalkeeper
19James CollinsDefender
46Barry BannanMidfielder
38Gary GardnerMidfielder
40Samir CarruthersMidfielder
14Nathan DelfounesoStriker
10Andreas WeimannStriker
24Brad FriedelGoalkeeper
4Younes KaboulDefender
13William GallasDefender
5Michael DawsonDefender
3Danny RoseMidfielder
2Kyle WalkerDefender
11Gareth BaleMidfielder
7Aaron LennonMidfielder
23Rafael van der VaartMidfielder
19Luka ModricMidfielder
15SandroMidfielder
10Emmanuel AdebayorStriker
23Carlo CudiciniGoalkeeper
-Ryan NelsenManager/Coach
28Scott ParkerMidfielder
14Jake LivermoreMidfielder
8Louis SahaStriker
17Giovani dos SantosStriker
18Jermain DefoeStriker
Players to Watch
Stephen Ireland
Stephen Ireland
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 32
Games Goals YC RC
1 0 0 0
The Irish midfielder returns from injury and will be instrumental if Villa are to stand a chance of picking up anything in this game. The 25-year-old makes the home side tick in midfield and will be responsible for feeding the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Charles N'Zogbia who, arguably, hold Villa's biggest goal threat. Ireland will need to be at his best though, as he comes up against the likes of Luka Modric and Scott Parker in the middle.
Rafael van der Vaart
Rafael van der Vaart
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 23
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The Dutchman scored in the 4-1 win against Bolton in midweek for his second goal in as many games. It followed up his rather scrappy opener in Sunday's 2-0 win over Blackburn, and Spurs will need their attacking midfielder at his goalscoring best if they are to continue their push for the Champions League. The 29-year-old scored four goals in two games against Aston Villa last season and will be keen to do so again here in a tricky trip for Tottenham.
Prediction
Aston Villa's home form is a cause for real concern for Alex McLeish, who must now be fearing for his job after an indifferent campaign. Fans are turning on the Scotsman and there is a negative vibe around Villa Park at the moment.

They could really do with a win in their final home game of the season to boost their chances of survival, but Tottenham have third place - and with it automatic Champions League qualification - firmly in their sights and will hand the Villans no favours whatsoever.

I expect it to be a really tight affair, but Villa's lack of goalscoring power could cost them dear, both here and at the end of the season.
Editor's Prediction

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