Aston Villa take on Tottenham on Sunday afternoon with two clubs separated by 28 points and fighting on opposite ends of the table, yet not too long ago they were both considered ‘equal’ footballing powers.
Where Villa fans are now contemplating an unlikely relegation, Tottenham fans will be hoping that Man City and Bayern Munich will help them qualify for the Champions League again.
Aston Villa Preview
At the most crucial time of the season things just seem to be going from bad to worse for Aston Villa. Sitting just three points above the drop zone Alex McLeish’s men are in relegation form and the news this week that three first-team players have been disciplined after a nightclub brawl has done little to calm the nerves of the club’s fans.
Primarily it is Villa’s lack of goals that is, not just a worry for McLeish, but a critical threat to their survival chances. The extent of the problem is a meagre six goals since the end of February since top marksman Darren Bent was sidelined through injury. Villa need to start hitting the target and huge responsibility now lies with Gabriel Agbonlahor, Emile Heskey and Charles N’Zogbia to deliver where they have so far failed to produce.
What Villa do have though is a decent backline with Richard Dunne and goalkeeper Shay Given both excelling in recent weeks. Expect to see a cautious approach from McLeish as he looks to build on this strength. Although Villa desperately need the win, they will set up looking for the draw.
Tottenham Hotspur Preview
Spurs fans will no doubt have shared a collective feeling of relief after the 4-1 win over Bolton on Wednesday. Perhaps now that speculation about Harry Redknapp leaving has ended, the squad can pull together and demonstrate the kind of form that saw them involved in the title race up until the end of February.
Redknapp will be keen to take the three points from Villa Park as his side look to open up a gap over Newcastle and clinch fourth place. The Spurs manager is likely to field a similar side to the one which put Bolton to the sword. Key defenders Michael Dawson and Benoit Assou-Ekotto are still missing through injury while Scott Parker is rated 50/50 after an achilles problem kept him out of the last two games.
Aston Villa v Tottenham Prediction
Spurs have kept only three clean sheets in their last 11 league outings with defensive injury problems and the speculation over the manager both likely factors. Villa though can’t buy a goal never mind a win, so expect the London side to continue their return to form and edge this one 1-0.