Match Preview – Preston v Aston Villa : Villa must maintain playoff pressure.

After a knock back against Leeds at Villa Park, victory at The Liberty Stadium against Swansea was an important result.

That win enabled Villa to keep pace and go into this important game against Preston within striking distance of the playoffs.

Whilst it feels like all football games are ‘must wins’ these days, if we are to make meaningful strides towards promotion, then going on a long winning run is essential.

Firstly, we need to close the 3 points to the playoff spots and then mercilessly hunt down teams above us. Winning against sides that are in the lower third of the league simply have to become Villa’s norm.

We must do this though with a patched up defence and a goalkeeper, for all his heroics at Swansea, who likely to be dropped in the new year.

Smith also has the tricky job of bringing balance to a midfield that ghosts in and out of games in the absence of injured Jack Grealish.

Finally, Villa’s attack, especially given our frailties at the back, must be more clinical.  Abraham, Kodjia, Bolasie and the emerging El Ghazi are a ferocious front four, but we desperately need consistency from them at this time.

Preston is a tough game for us, but it’s deceptively massive in both building momentum and keeping our promotion aspirations alive.

KEY FACTS

  • Villa are 9th n 36 points.
  • Preston are 17th on 28 Points
  • Villa Form: WDDLW
  • Preston Form: LWWLL
  • Villa have secured 10 pts from last 12 available away.
  • Villa have lost just 1 in last 9.
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