Aston Villa must start scoring first to avoid relegation, says Collymore

Ahead of the trip to West Brom on Saturday, the former Villans forward believes the club can survive the drop if they start games in a more positive fashion

Former Aston Villa striker Stan Collymore believes the club can avoid relegation from the Premier League if they start scoring first in games.

The Midlands club have conceded the first goal in each of their last five league outings - letting in 18 in that time during a miserable festive period.

13/8 Aston Villa are 13/8 to score first when they face West Brom with Paddy Power

Villa currently find themselves inside the relegation zone on goal difference, a situation Collymore feels the club can fix if they start games in a more positive fashion.

"I reckon the key to Villa staying clear of relegation is scoring first in games, no matter who happens to be on target," Collymore told the club’s official website.

Of all the teams in the Barclays Premier League, only Manchester United are capable of coming back from behind on a regular basis. As we saw to our cost at Villa Park in November, they can also do it from two-down.

"No other team consistently does that and even Chelsea were unable to find a way back when they went a goal down to QPR in match a few weeks ago you would have expected them to win comfortably.

"If you can get to the half-hour mark in the vast majority of Premier League games without conceding - or better still, establish a lead - there's always something to build on."

Collymore did, however, praise the impact of strikers Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann  - insisting that they are capable of leading the team from the front following recent impressive displays.

"We've seen what a burgeoning partnership Christian and Andreas can be over the past couple of months - and it's important that they continue to terrorise defences," he added.

"What we need from those two over the next few weeks is the sort of lethal finishing which secured that incredible win at Liverpool and the valuable point from the 2-2 draw at Swansea."