Aston Villa are finally showing signs of life and over the last five games only three teams have picked up more points. It’s all too little too late of course, they’re not going to do a Leicester, and they’ve scored just four goals in those five games, but it’s something.
Liverpool, meanwhile, are spluttering along, equidistant between Norwich in 18th and Man City in 4th, with their season now resting on the Europa League and Capital One Cup after being knocked out of the FA Cup in midweek.
This time last year Liverpool were in the middle of a 13 game unbeaten streak and were confident of finishing in the Champions League places. However, that was no more than a dream and since that run ended they’ve picked up just 43 points from 34 matches with a goal difference of -13. To put that into context, it would place them 13th out of the 17 teams that were in the league for all this time and is 32 points worse than Leicester in the same period, while only Sunderland, Newcastle and Villa have a worse goal difference. Now they may have more quality than that suggests but probably still not as much as they’d like to think – this simply isn’t a very good team.
The Reds were somewhat fortunate to win 5-4 at hapless Norwich recently but they’ve still lost four of their last six away matches, with the other success a 1-0 win at struggling Sunderland, and all those defeats were to nil and by more than one goal as they’ve struggled in both defence and attack. However, there is better news in their record at Aston Villa, as they’ve won on their last four visits to Villa Park. That contrasts to a home record of one win in five against the Villa. Last season five of their six trips to the bottom six finished with fewer than three goals and so far two of their three at the current bottom six this term have also settled in favour of the ‘unders’.
Remi Garde is slowly getting Villa playing some better football. They certainly look a lot more solid but there remains the question of where the goals are going to come from. Coming into this game they are on a four game unbeaten streak at home and regardless of Gaby Agbonlahor being Villa’s sole fit striker we simply have to take Liverpool on at the moment.
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