With Gabby Agbonlahor touch and go, both Aston Villa’s new loanees Grant Holt and Ryan Bertrand potentially could make their Villa debuts in the Midland’s derby. Unfortunately, there’s still no sign of that elusive new attacking midfielder in a Villa shirt, but it increasingly looks like Norwich’s Wes Hoolihan could be on his way after being left out of Norwich’s squad last night. A win for Villa would be a huge step in terms of finishing above the Baggies and also to move away from any potential relegation battle. UTV
Pepe Mel on Villa
“They are a very good team on the counter-attack, but they are also good playing it long and winning the second ball with Benteke. My players know this and we have worked hard on stopping these things.”
Pepe Mel on Benteke
“I actually asked Real Betis to buy Benteke last year in the summer, but he was very expensive! Benteke is a well-known player. We played with a system using wingers and we needed someone in the middle to put the ball in the back of the net – Benteke plays this role very well.”
Paul Lambert on the Baggies clash
“It couldn’t be harder for us, preparing to face a team with a new manager.
His reputation is there for everybody to see, and what he’s done in Spain.
It’s new to him. The league’s new to him. West Brom is new to him. We’ll see.
“The atmosphere won’t need lifting. It will be there anyway. We’ll have the
majority of the crowd on our side this time and they’ll get right behind us,
I’ve got no doubt about that.”
Form is Temporary
30 September 2012 Aston Villa 1 – 1 West Brom
It was an important game for Lambert in one of his first few home encounters and a draw was an unsatisfying result, considering we bossed the possession (how times change!). Darren Bent scored in the 80th minute and grabbed a point after eternal Villa pest Shane Long had opened the scoring.
Aston Villa: Last five League matches at home: D 2, L 3
West Brom: Last five League matches away: D 2, L 3
In the last five Premier League meetings at Villa Park, Villa have won twice, drawn twice and lost once.
One to Watch
Nicolas Anelka – while facing problems off the pitch he has been playing fairly well on it and his footballing experience might cause problems for our young defence. It’s very likely he will start against Villa.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
A solid record against West Brom at home counts for little when you consider our run of home form – we haven’t won at Villa Park since the 9th of November. Worryingly, we haven’t beat West Brom since December 2010. There might be a degree of uncertainty following the recent arrival of Pepe Mel, but our dire home form, the worst in the division, is a cause for concern. In terms of injuries we’re doing OK, but Agbonlahor’s involvement may be in doubt. West Brom defended quite well against Everton last week and might be able to frustrate us, especially as we’ve only scored eight goals in our last 11 home games games.
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
A derby match does throw the form book out of the window so there is a chance we can put on a good performance at home. The Liverpool game was an instance in which how we played was more important than the result as it seemed to be a welcome return of the attacking style last season. Holt and Bertrand put in a good shift on Merseyside, so there’s a chance for them to build on this and impress. Perhaps the on-loan Wigan man will even write his name into Villa folklore with a winning goal? We’re well overdue a good result against West Brom, so let’s hope we can finally banish our home problems with a victory against the Baggies. Also, is it too late to ask for an attacking midfielder?!
Why Villa have got this game in the bag
West Brom looked a bit bereft of ideas against an out-of-sorts Everton and while they did manage a draw in the end, it was clear they need time to click under their new manager. With Weimann and Benteke on the score-sheet against Liverpool there are signs that our forwards our finding their feet again. While 0-0 seemed to be a worryingly common result for us at one point, Villa are enjoying their goalscoring again and we’ve scored in each of our last five games in all competitions. We’re not great at home, but at least West Brom are no better away. Based on the evidence of our last two performances, the home side can prevail. UTV.
Follow Lewis on Twitter – @rymondfootball