Losing. It’s a novel and unfamiliar problem to have when you become accustomed to winning football matches. The defeat at Old Trafford, in which Villa surrendered a 2-0 lead was a tough reminder of what it takes to remain at the very top end of the division.
It’s been a tricky last couple of games on reflection, with Emery having to contend with an accumulating list of injuries and suspensions. Kamara, Tielemans, and Torres have been particularly missed.
We have also been on a mesmerising and record-breaking run of home victories. The most recent visitors Sheffield United, rooted to the bottom of the league, almost ended that with a late Cameron Archer goal. A timely Zaniolo header spared our blushes and kept the run going, but it was another gentle reminder of the dangers of complacency. It was also a missed opportunity to go top.
Burnley arrive at Villa Park in the relegation zone and like Sheffield United before them, are fighting for their survival. For us, this is an important game if we are to keep up the momentum and sustain a challenge at the top end of the division and for high-level European football.
VILLA V BURNLEY PREVIEW
Burnley are a different beast these days. Having dispensed with the services of Sean Dyche as their last Premier League stay petered out, Vincent Kompany steered the club back to the top flight in pretty impressive fashion. Kompany’s style of play can certainly be considered easier on the eye than his predecessor.
The transition from The Championship hasn’t been an easy one, with The Clarets second bottom with just 11 points. Whilst they arrive on the back of a Boxing Day loss to Liverpool, Kompany’s side secured a valuable away victory at Craven Cottage last time out.
Lucas Digne, in excellent form this season, misses out after picking up a hamstring injury against Man Utd. Kamara will serve the final match of a 3 game ban following his naive sending off in a late moment of madness in the win at Bournemouth.
Tieleman’s is sadly still out and Pau Torres is unlikely to start, but the latter watched on from the bench at Old Trafford in midweek.Embed from Getty Images
The visitors have an almost clean bill of health and welcome back Aaron (brother of Jacob) Ramsey. Ramsey, was a surprise £14m summer sale from which Villa retain a buy-back option and is one of a number of promising exits in the summer to raise an eyebrow.
Villa could go level on points with Liverpool at the summit with a victory, with Jurgen Klopp’s side not playing until New Years Day against Newcastle.
For Emery, this is a prompt opportunity to get back on track after an incredibly frustrating collapse having been in total control against United. Villa Park is the ideal setting, with an opportunity to extend the unbeaten home run to a remarkable 16 games.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-0 Burnley