Swansea vs Aston Villa – Match Preview – 3 points suddenly a ‘must’ in Playoff chase.

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The deflating defeat to Leeds (3-2) mustn’t detract from a far more positive run of December results than we might’ve expected.

Whilst there are arguably more draws in our recent form than we would want, it would be fair to say that we are in better shape than we would otherwise have been.

We have an attacking flair and verve that despite an array of options, simply wasn’t being utilised.  We go to Swansea carrying a real threat with Abraham, Kodjia and Bolasie.

With that said, we must get more clinical in front of goal.  Abraham is potent, but is guilty of a glaring miss a game, Bolasie remains an enigma and Kodjia must build on positive recent form.

Defensively is definitely where we have to find improvement though.

Hutton and Elmohamady can be highlighted as major weaknesses in recent weeks, being individually responsible for a number of goals conceded.

Nyland, holding the fort until Kalinic is cleared to play, remains a nervous, frail deputy in the interim.

Chester, still nursing a troublesome knee, also desperately needs to find form.  He won’t be helped by an unfamiliar partner in young right back James Bree deputising at centre half for the injured Tuanzebe.

Villa now look to be hampered by the lack of points accrued in the opening part of the campaign and the inevitable rallying by a number of sides over Christmas.

Norwich and Leeds have pulled away and a five point gap now exists to Sheffield United in 6th.  Whilst it’s hardly an insurmountable target, we cannot afford to close any gap to the lifeboat of the playoffs.

Anything less than winning now opens up the risk of meandering in upper mid-table, always feeling as though you’re in striking distance, but never making ground where others may lose points.  Indeed, we risk revisiting Groundhog Day from our first season in The Championship, and nobody wants that.

Simply put, we must start building momentum, by winning week-on-week, starting at The Liberty Stadium today.

KEY FACTS

  • Neil Taylor remains out with a hamstring injury.
  • Jack Grealish misses out and will be a big loss again.
  • Centre half Axel Tuanzebe is out injured with a foot problem.
  • Villa won the reverse fixture 1-0 at Villa Park.
  • Villa have a 20% Boxing Day win rate since 1990.
  • Swansea = 12th (32 Points)
  • Villa = 11th (33 Points)
  • Villa Form = DWDDL
  • Swans Form = LLWWL
  • Swansea have won 5 of last 6 meetings between clubs.
  • Villa last won away at Swansea in 1971.
  • Villa can rise as high as 7th with a victory.
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