The Villa Appetiser: Norwich vs Aston Villa Preview and Chris Hughton on Villa

Chris Hughton on Villa and Lambert

 “A game against Aston Villa has nothing to do with a game against Paul Lambert, it’s 11 players against 11 players that will try to compete against each other to get three points on Saturday.

We will be tested because they are a young and exciting side. They have good offensive options and are going to play a certain way which makes it difficult for you, but I’ll go back to what I said – it’s about trying to win football matches.

We have a very good record at home, and even though we’re up against a good team in Aston Villa, irrespective of who the opposition are, we have to look at it as an opportunity of getting three points.

I think if you asked any coach around the country, he’ll always say there’s more of an advantage playing at home than away from home. Is life easier at home? The stats will say yes it is.” [Unless you’re Aston Villa that is – Ed]

Lambert on returning to Carrow Road

 “I don’t have anything to prove. The Norwich thing is finished. It’s gone. The two times I’ve been back the majority of the crowd have been really good with me.

Whether it’s Norwich or anyone else we’re playing, we’ve got to try to bounce back.”

Match Difficulty Grade

B – After a disappointing display against Newcastle last Saturday the pressure will be on Villa to get a result after three consecutive losses. With Norwich’s impressive home form, however, this could be difficult.

Form is Temporary

 Memory match:

04 May 2013

Norwich 1 Aston Villa 2

 Villa’s stay in the top flight was all but confirmed with this Agbonlahor masterclass as he scored two goals and caused relegation worries for the Norwich faithful.

Norwich: Last five Premier League matches at home: W 3, D 1, L 1

Aston Villa: Last five Premier League matches away: W 2, D 1, L 2

In the last five league meetings at Carrow Road Villa have won twice, drawn once and lost twice. Their long-term record is less impressive with it reading W 2 D 5 L 7 in the last 14.

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

Chris Hughton’s Norwich are very solid at home and their dealings in the transfer window show that this is set to continue. If Villa fail to break down an organised Norwich defence, there’s the danger that the likes of van Wolfswinkel and Hooper could cause problems at the other end. While a clean-sheet continues to evade Villa (26 games now), the absence of injured Okore could make for a nervous encounter at Paul Lambert’s old home.

What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide

 There was cause for concern after Villa’s defeat to Newcastle last Saturday, especially after plucky performances against the league’s top clubs. Villa didn’t seem to play with the confidence a home team should show and were punished for individual errors. With away games becoming Villa’s preferred venue for picking up points, hopefully we will see a repeat of the cutting-edge attacking football that caused a shock at the Emirates on the opening day.  We continue to see glimpses of it – let’s hope we see a fuller view of the potential in Villa’s forward line on Saturday.

Why Villa have got this game in the bag

 For all their defensive skills Norwich struggled against visiting Villa last season in the league and the League Cup. With Agbonlahor in his best form for a while, Benteke top goalscorer and Kozák joining the ranks, it could be a good day for the away side. Norwich have found goals hard to come by in their opening few games which isn’t a problem Villa suffer, and the counter-attacking of Lambert’s side should be too much for Norwich to handle. After all, Norwich’s last home loss was at the expense of Villa.

What’s your thoughts on the game and predicted score? Comment below. UTV.

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