What exactly do you say to your team after an 8-0 drubbing. Thats the problem Paul Lambert faced at the weekend after the Aston Villa were humiliated by Chelsea just a week after they pulled off an astonishing win over Liverpool at Anfield. With such a young team at his disposal, one that is still learning the Premier League ropes, Lambert will be aware that inconsistency of extreme fluctuation goes hand in hand. The sobering reality is that the irregular nature of Villa’s performances puts them at serious risk of relegation. Thats not to say they haven’t impressed at varying stages this season but Lambert needs to start turning his kids into men.

Spurs, whilst picking up wins, are also blowing hot and cold on an alarming scale under Andre Villas-Boas. Of course that can be put down to the transitional period expected to take place when a new manager arrives. But with the campaign reaching its halfway point Villas-Boas should be expecting his side to be fully integrated with his ideas and producing a steadier flow of performances. Four points from the last two games against Swansea and Stoke looks excellent on paper but the football served up by the North London club was far from vintage. They’ll need to get back into their groove sooner rather than later if they’re to stay in touch with the top-four.

Team News

Villa trio Ron Vlaar, Gabby Agbonlahor (thigh) and Charles N’Zogbia (knee) will all be assessed before kick off.

Clint Dempsey is suffering from a groin complaint and may not be risked but Benoit Assou-Ekotto could feature after recovering from  a knee injury.

What the managers said…

“I’ve experienced that a few times. I’ve been absolutely tonked before, as player and manager. Thanks for reminding me! You just try and win the next game. It’s how they react now – that’s the mark of good players. It’s up to me to get the players up for Wednesday. I won’t have a problem doing that because they’re really hurt by that. None of them will be feeling great. I expect a reaction.” Paul Lambert wants a reaction from his Aston Villa players (Daily Star)

“He has been outstanding, for sure. He has eight goals so far. I think he is surprising everybody. To his credit he has come up strong. He has strong competition from Bent. I think Paul Lambert was courageous in his decision to keep on persisting with a player that he got so well in the transfer market so credit to them. But it is good to see him up there.” Andre Villas-Boas commends Paul Lambert’s handling of Darren Bent (Independent)

Pre-match Statistic

One win in their last 11 Boxing Day games should ensure the writing is clear on the wall for Villa fans especially given Spurs are the only team in the division to score in every away game this season.

Prediction: Aston Villa 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Check the odds ahead of the game at Villa Park with William Hill here

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