Villa Park

Premier League Preview: Aston Villa vs. Queens Park Rangers

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  • QPR leads series 23W-12D-18L
  • Clubs are 1W-3D-1L since 2011
  • QPR won 2-0 at Loftus Road in Oct.

Valuable points are on the line Tuesday as Queens Park Rangers looks to take three of them and Aston Villa’s 17th place with a win at Villa Park (Watch live at 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

Chris Ramsey’s R’s are in 19th place with 25 points, but have a better goal differential than their Tuesday hosts, who sit three points ahead of them on the table.

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Villa has emerged from the drop zone by beating fellow strugglers, while QPR’s weekend win over West Bromwich Albion is its only win in six matches. However, the R’s have won of their last four on the road.

It’ll be a matchup of close friends with differing personalities. Ramsey worked on Tim Sherwood’s staff at Tottenham Hotspur, and Sherwood claims he’d gladly take Ramsey on his staff at Aston Villa if the latter was out of work and the club could find room.

WATCH LIVE AT 2:45 P.M. ET ON NBCSN AND ONLINE VIA LIVE EXTRA

What they’re saying

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood“I think this is the biggest game that a lot of these players have ever played for this football club. This is without doubt the biggest game of the season for Villa and possibly one of the biggest in a number of years and this is the biggest of my managerial career.”

QPR goalkeeper Robert Green“Back to back wins would make a big difference for us. It would lift us above Aston Villa. From their point of view, they’ll be looking at this game and saying that a win will move them five points clear of relegation. If we could get the back-to-back wins, it would be a case of ‘down and out’ on Saturday morning in some people’s eyes, to ‘alive and kicking’ by Tuesday evening. That’s the nature of football.”

Prediction

Goals, I think! Charlie Austin looked great on the weekend and the short break between games for both squads could make for tired legs and lapses in focus. With Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor looking to test the R’s back line, we’ll call this one 2-2.

Watch Live: Aston Villa vs. Chelsea (Lineups and Discuss)

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Chelsea prepare to defend their lead at the top of the table during their visit to Villa Park, but will Aston Villa make it easy on them? (Watch live on NBCSN at 1:30 p.m. ET and online via Live Extra).

Villa will be smarting after the reverse fixture ended 2-1 in favor of Chelsea, with Paul Lambert arguing after the match that major calls hadn’t gone his side’s way. The Villa are currently 11th in the table, six points clear of the drop, and although the sides at the bottom make it difficult to think they’ll go down, a bit of a cushion would be nice. And after beating Norwich 4-1 in their last outing, what better time to extract revenge on José Mourinho’s side?

The Blues will have one eye on their midweek Champions League clash with Galatasaray, after their 1-1 draw in the first leg, but they can’t afford to drop points against Villa. After Manchester City’s victory over Hull, they’re just six points clear at the top of the table, and their challengers all have one or two games in hand. But with Chelsea’s 14-game unbeaten streak, is it likely they’ll drop points?

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The hosts make just one change  – and it’s not of their choosing. Ryan Bertrand, unable to face his parent club, makes way for Joe Bennett at left back. Andi Weimann and Gabby Agbonlahor flank Christian Benteke in a front three.

Mourinho makes three changes to the side that upset Spurs last time around. Fernando Torres is fit again and replaces Samuel Eto’o, while Willian and Oscar come in for Andre Schurrle and Frank Lampard.

LINEUPS

Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett, Westwood, Delph, El Ahmadi, Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor.

Subs: Steer, Sylla, Holt, Clark, Albrighton, Lowton, Robinson

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Matic; Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Torres

Subs: Schwarzer, Kalas, Mikel, Lampard, Schurrle, Salah, Ba

Watch Live: Aston Villa vs. West Ham United (Lineups and Discuss)

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For every team in the bottom half of the Premier League table, each match is a relegation battle – but West Ham’s visit to Villa Park is truly vital, as a win could lift the Irons out of the drop zone (watch live online on NBC Sports Live Extra at 10 a.m. ET).

West Ham have picked up four points from their last two matches, picking up a draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge before beating Swansea City 2-0 at Upton Park last weekend. But that doesn’t mean they’re out of the drop zone just yet – their fellow strugglers are also improving, and so the Irons remain a point from safety. That likely means we’ll be treated to a display more in line with what was seen at the Bridge than the actual attacking football the side showed off in the first hour last weekend.

Aston Villa’s form may have improved in recent weeks, but just because they’re sitting tenth doesn’t mean they’re out of danger – that’s just five points above the drop. Paul Lambert, who entered contract negotiations this week, knows that appeasing the fans means improving the home record, and it’s likely the hosts will go all out to find three points rather than one.

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Last week, Andy Carroll was sent off with a straight red after an altercation with Swansea defender Chico Flores. Despite West Ham appealing their appeal to the FA, the three-match ban still stands, and Carroll with miss out. Instead it’s Carlton Cole that Sam Allardyce has put up front, favoring the devil he knows over new forward Marco Borriello, who remains on the bench.

Villa make two changes to the side that lost against Everton last week. Captain Ron Vlaar misses out with injury, with Matthew Lowton stepping into defense. Gabby Agbonlahor takes over the armband, taking over from Grant Holt, with Andi Weimann and Christian Benteke joining him up top.

LINEUPS

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Clark, Baker, Bertrand, Bacuna, Westwood, Delph, Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor

Subs: Steer, El Ahmadi, Sylla, Helenius, Albrighton, Holt, Bennett.

West Ham United: Adrian, Demel, Tomkins, Collins, McCartney, Nolan, Noble, Taylor, Jarvis, C.Cole, Downing

Subs: Jaaskelainen, Reid, Armero, Collison, Johnson, Borriello, Nocerino

Aston Villa 0-1 Crystal Palace: Last minute winner for the visitors (video)

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Aston villa proved that possession counts for just nine-tenths of the law, with Crystal Palace grabbing a last minute goal to take all three points away from Villa Park. That’s Villa’s fourth straight loss and Paul Lambert must be having a bit of trouble sleeping at night, particularly now that his side are just three points above the drop. Tony Pulis, meanwhile, is proving his worth at Palace, having pulled his side to just above the relegation zone.

With neither side too adept at scoring, it was no surprise that the first half ended without a single goal scored. Villa enjoyed the majority of the possession, but without either goalkeeper being forced into a save, it mattered little.

Marc Albrighton looked lively for the hosts, combining well with striker Libor Kozák, but the Czech barely threatened Julian Speroni.

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On the other side, Yannick Bolasie came closest for Crystal Palace, but his shot from about 20 yards went wide.

While the hosts had the majority of the possession, they failed to make very much of it. And Palace refused to give up, continuing to press for all three points until the very end.

That pressure paid off in stoppage time. Just a few minutes after Jordan Bowery, on for Kozák, had his shot tipped over the bar, the visitors pulled out the winner.

Two of Pulis’s substitutes paired up to create the goal. Dean Moxey sent the ball out to Dwight Gayle, who did well to curl his shot into the top corner — and to lift his side out of the relegation zone.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Clark, Baker, Luna (Bacuna 67), Albrighton, El Ahmadi, Weimann (Tonev 87), Delph, Agbonlahor, Kozák (Bowery 77)

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Delaney, Gabbidon, Parr, Ward, Jedinak, Bolasie, Puncheon (Williams 65), Bannan (Moxey 86), Jerome (Gayle 72)

Watch Live: Aston Villa vs. Crystal Palace (Lineups and Discuss)

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Aston Villa are in desperate need of a win as they take on relegation-threatened Crystal Palace at Villa Park (10 a.m. ET; watch live online via NBC Sports Live Extra).

Frustration with Paul Lambert is growing amidst Villa fans, and the manager knows his side need to collect all three points, particularly in front of the home support. He’s going to have to do it without Christian Benteke, however, as the club revealed the Belgian is still suffering from injury — a fact that may account for his ten games without a goal. The Villa will be looking to Libor Kozák today, as well as hoping Andi Weimann can get back in form, or perhaps that Gabby Agbonlahor can score.

Palace, meanwhile, will just be hoping anyone can score, as the visitors hold the dubious honor of having scored the least goals in the league thus far. It won’t help that top scorer Marouane Chamakh, who has 4 of Palace’s 11 goals, sits out a one-match ban. It’ll be up to Cameron Jerome, who has just one goal for his club, although Barry Bannan would certainly love to knock one in against his former side.

Lineups

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Clark, Baker, Luna, Albrighton, El Ahmadi, Weimann, Delph, Agbonlahor, Kozák

Subs: Steer, Bacuna, Helenius, Bowery, Sylla, Gardner, Tonev

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Delaney, Gabbidon, Parr, Ward, Jedinak, Bolasie, Puncheon, Bannan, Jerome

Subs: Price, Moxey, Campana, Boateng, Jonny Williams, Gayle, Phillips