Aston Villa to take the spoils?

If there is one lesson Gerard Houllier has learnt since making a return to the Premier League, it is that the pressure for results has not decreased during his six-year spell out of English football.

Only a month on from a very credible draw with Manchester United, one that attracted much praise from the media, Villa find their small squad struggling to cope with the demands of the Premier League season’s busiest period.

West Brom have picked up recently after their own run of poor form. Two wins in as many games have certainly eased fears of an immediate return to the Championship, however a game against local rivals Villa will guard against any complacency.

This year already has the smell of a transition period for the Villains, and with an intensive Christmas period looming Houllier will be desperate not to spend the festive period staring over his shoulder at the sides below.

Villa welcome back Emile Heskey to their squad, and with goal scoring revelation Peter Odemwingie out, the Baggies may find the trip to Villa Park a fruitless one.

Prediction: 2-0

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