Boxing Day Premier League Preview : City Just Have to Win
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Aston Villa v Norwich City - 3pm
It's been a difficult time for both of these clubs since being promoted to the Premier League. 18th placed Villa were the ones who went out and spent a fortune in the transfer market but were in the relegation zone for Christmas. Only a win over Norwich City will give them a chance of exiting the bottom three and they'll need Southampton (who they lost to at the weekend) to lose at Chelsea which is a distinct possibility. Norwich again gave away a lead at the weekend and are one from bottom in the table only above resurgent Watford on goal difference.
Villa have just 15 points from their 18 league games this season. The loss of midfielder John McGinn with a fractured ankle isn't going to help their cause a great deal. One bonus they do have at present is that Jack Grealish is in form with three goals in the last five Premier League matches. Villa have lost each of their last four league matches and seven out of the last nine. With form like that, a return to the second flight of English football is looking a distinct possibility.
Now they enter a crucial stage of their season. After this match against 19th placed Norwich City, they travel to bottom of the league Watford. A couple of wins would do them the world of good, some poor results would put them in even deeper trouble than they are now. A repeat of the 5-1 away win at Carrow Road would do nicely.
Norwich City have had plenty of recent chances to escape the bottom three. The weekend saw them lead Wolves and they could easily have been clear of their opponents by half time. However, they didn't take their chances, Wolves did and the visitors left with a 2-1 win. It's a familiar story for Norwich with leads given away against Arsenal, Sheffield United and Leicester City. Four leads and just two points earned is not the way to get out of the relegation zone.
Their away form this season is nothing to write home about with just five points earned so far. Not that their home record is that good either with no victory at Carrow Road since mid-September. One plus they have at present is that Teemu Pukki has started scoring goals for them again. He's always a dangerous player when in form and is likely to cause Villa's often shaky defence some problems. This is a difficult game to predict with neither side showing a great deal of consistency. A bet on both teams to score looks a good one to make though with Villa and Norwich having conceded 70 goals between in the Premier League this season.
- Leicester City are unbeaten at home this season in the Premier League.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in their last Premier League games.
- Liverpool have won 25 of their last 26 games in the Premier League.
- Aston Villa have lost their last four league games.
- Both teams have scored in six of their last eight league matches.
- Norwich City have led in four recent games and not won any of them.
- Aston Villa won the reverse fixture against Norwich 5-1.
- There have been over 1.5 goals scored in each of the last five Brighton away league games.
- The last 17 Tottenham league and cup games have all had over 1.5 goals scored in them.
- Leicester City have only one point from their last two league games.
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