The government may have virtually cancelled Christmas this year but one positive thing during this festive period is that we still have Aston Villa. We don’t have to wait long either before Aston Villa are back in action as they take on Crystal Palace on Boxing Day.
Dean Smith’s will look to build on the 0-3 victory over West Brom last Sunday while Roy Hodgson’s men will be looking to bounce back from a 0-7 drumming at the hands of Premier League Champions Liverpool.
The defeat to Liverpool was probably a little unfair on Palace and doesn’t represent how their season has gone so far. Just like Villa, Palace will be looking for a mid-table position, with some hope they can push to the upper half of the table and certainly try to avoid being dragged into any kind of relegation fight.
Palace currently sits in 13th place and a win against Villa could see them jump up to 10th. A win for Villa could see them jump as high as 7th and they still have two games in hand over much of the division.
Villa’s home form has been their downfall this season with them only picking up 7 points at Villa Park, less than half they have achieved on the road (15). Palace are the opposite of Villa but not as extreme. 10 of their 18 points have come on their travels so far.
Villa will have the option to welcome back Ross Barkley (Thigh) and Ezri Konsa (illness) who have both recovered and are available for selection.
Trezeguet (Thigh) will still be missing while there are no further injury worries other than the long term casualties for Villa.
Palace will make a decision on James Tompkins who come through 90 minutes for their U23 side on Monday.
Gary Cahill (Thigh), Martin Kelly (shin) and Nathan Ferguson (Thigh) are all doubts.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Assistants: Adam Nunn, James Mainwaring. Fourth official: Peter Bankes. VAR: Craig Pawson. Assistant VAR: Simon Long.
DID YOU KNOW
Aston Villa have kept seven clean sheets in the Premier League this season, more than any other side despite playing fewer games than most.
Awar El Ghazi has scored three goals in his last three Premier League games. That’s as many as he scored in his previous 34 in the competition.
Crystal Palace have never scored more than once in seventeen league games at Villa Park, scoring 10 in those games (W3, D3, L10).
HOW TO FOLLOW
Aston Villa v Crystal Palace will be shown live on the BBC in the UK.
I CANNOT WATCH LIVE
As I have already mentioned, Crystal Palace’s form on the road against Villa’s home form would have the Eagles as slight favourites but I am going to go for a Villa win. Villa will know their home form needs looking at and I believe this is the game where we do it.
Aston Villa 2-1 Crystal Palace.