Aston Villa vs Crystal Palace preview, team news, kick-off, prediction

Ross Barkley is set to be available for Aston Villa; Crystal Palace will be without Gary Cahill; follow Aston Villa vs Crystal Palace with our live blog on Sky Sports website and app; watch free match highlights shortly after full time on Sky Sports’ digital platforms and YouTube channel

Thursday 24 December 2020 15:08, UK

Team news and stats ahead of Aston Villa vs Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday; kick-off 3pm.

Team news

Aston Villa midfielder Ross Barkley is expected to be available against Crystal Palace on Boxing Day.

The midfielder has been out for a month with a hamstring problem but has returned to training while Ezri Konsa has also shaken off an illness.

Trezeguet remains out with a thigh injury and, although Wesley has started running again, the striker will not return from his long-term knee injury until next year.

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Palace will be without former Villa defender Gary Cahill at Villa Park.

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The experienced centre-back has been ruled out due to a hamstring injury following last weekend’s 7-0 drubbing at the hands of champions Liverpool.

Striker Christian Benteke – another ex-Villa player – returns from a one-match ban, but Wayne Hennessey (thigh), Nathan Ferguson (knee), Martin Kelly, Mamadou Sakho (both calf) and Connor Wickham (thigh) remain sidelined.

How to follow

Follow Aston Villa vs Crystal Palace in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.

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Jones Knows Prediction

We’re just over a third of the way through the season and the Premier League is starting to take shape. It’s a time of year where the league table now doesn’t lie. And Aston Villa are up there in ninth. With two games in hand, too.

Win those and they would be second.

Dean Smith’s side look the part, while also backing it up with the all-important performance metrics. They’ve conceded just 13 goals, only Man City (12) have conceded fewer and Smith’s side have already kept as many clean sheets this season as they did during last season (7). A top-six finish at 6/1 makes appeal.

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If Villa are improving, Palace are flatlining. They have exactly the same record as last season with five wins, three draws and six defeats from opening their opening 14 games. Villa are quite simply the better side. Home win.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0 (7/1 with Sky Bet)

Opta stats

  • Aston Villa have won two of their last three Premier League games against Crystal Palace (L1), as many as they had in their previous 12 against them in the competition (W2 D5 L5).
  • Crystal Palace have won just one of their eight Premier League away games against Aston Villa (D3 L4), beating them 1-0 in December 2013.
  • Crystal Palace have never scored more than once in 17 away league games against Aston Villa (W3 D4 L10), netting 11 goals in total in that run.
  • Aston Villa have won just one of their last 10 Premier League matches on Boxing Day (D4 L5), though this did come against Norwich last season. They last won top-flight games on consecutive Boxing Days in 1988/1989.
  • Of all teams to play at least 10 Premier League games on Boxing Day, Crystal Palace’s matches have seen the lowest goals-per-game ratio (1.5), with the Eagles scoring eight and conceding seven in their 10 matches.
  • Aston Villa have kept seven Premier League clean sheets so far this season, more than any other side and as many as they kept in the whole of 2019-20. The Villans haven’t conceded in any of their last three Premier League games, last having a longer run of top-flight shutouts in February 2010 (4).
  • Crystal Palace have conceded in each of their last 13 Premier League games, since beating Southampton 1-0 on the opening weekend. The Eagles conceded as many goals in their 0-7 defeat to Liverpool last time out as they had in their six previous league games combined.

Pitch to Post Review: What if Man Utd actually clicked? Plus: Arteta’s stats debunked

Manchester United are in contention having barely performed this season – how good could they be if they actually clicked?

In the last Pitch to Post Review of 2020, Jasper Taylor is joined by Gerard Brand and Ben Ransom to discuss Manchester United’s chaotic 6-2 win over Leeds, and whether in fact Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are title contenders (04:12). As for Leeds, we analyse Marcelo Bielsa’s unapologetic style, and whether it can last (13:00).

The shambles at Arsenal continues as they are beaten at Everton, and after Mikel Arteta channels his inner Rafa Benitez with a list of statistics, the panel provide some other damning metrics (16:47).

In the Regional Review, Adam Bate discusses West Brom, Aston Villa and Wolves (32:59), and in part four we look at Tottenham’s defeat by Leicester as Jose Mourinho was played at his own game to cap off a bad week (42:36).

Download the Sky Sports Pitch to Post Podcast on Apple | Spotify

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