Aston Villa (A) Match Preview
27th November 2012
After Saturday's heartbreaking defeat to Wigan, it is a quick turnaround for the Royals as they now prepare to face Aston Villa in a basement battle at Villa Park. Paul Lambert's side are also struggling to cope with the demands of the Premier League, having only won once at home this season. It is going to be a good encounter in Birmingham, with possible consequences for either manager.
Villa boss Paul Lambert - 'I think the lads are playing very well at the minute. And we try and play the right way. There were some big performances against Arsenal. A lot of the lads are on top of their game at the minute. Part of the process is them growing together, being at this club for the next few years. They can see what we're trying to do here. It's a long term thing. We are trying to build. They are young and they will make mistakes but it's a long project. I know that myself but the performances have been really encouraging. The future of the club looks really good.'
Reading manager Brian McDermott responding to accusations that he has his 'favourites' in the Reading team - 'No-one in this team is undroppable. Kaspars has been a warrior for me. He did well in the Championship and he is part of four centre-backs. He is up for selection. I'd not talk about any player's performance. That would not be right.'
Aston Villa Team News:
Villa have a few defensive problems coming into this game, with captain Ron Vlaar struggling with an injury problem suffered against Arsenal, with Richard Dunne a long-term casualty.
Player to watch: Christian Benteke
The Belgian international had a slow start to his Villa career in front of goal, but is finally starting to pick up some form. A very strong, pacey striker that is likely to cause a fragile Reading backline some problems.
Reading Team News:
Reading are still without the midfield trio of Jem Karacan, Danny Guthrie and Jimmy Kebe, but all have returned to full training. Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy is only in light training, with Chris Gunter reportedly suffering an injury against Wigan that may keep him out of this game.
Player to watch: Adrian Mariappa
The defender is likely to come into the team with Kaspars Gorkss being reportedly dropped and will want to leave his mark. Has been in and out of the team this season, but will want to cement his place with Alex Pearce also looming in the background.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lichaj, Lowton, Clark, Stevens, Holman, Westwood, Bannan, Weimann, Agbonlahor, Benteke
Reading: Federici, Cummings, Mariappa, Morrison, Shorey, McCleary, Tabb, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Roberts, Hunt
The referee for this game will be Lee Probert. It has been over two years since the 40-year old refereed the Royals, all the way back in August 2010 when they drew 1-1 with Nottingham Forest.
I'm not feeling confident about this game because of the pace of Villa's attack. If we are going to get anything from the game, we need to 'have a go' at their fragile defence. However, if we consist with the same outdated tactics, I can't see us getting anything from this. Vital Reading prediction: Villa 2-0 Reading
Aston Villa - QPR (A) - Sat 1st December - Premier Legaue
Reading - Man Utd (H) - Sat 1st December - Premier League