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Aston Villa prediction

The previous occasion this season we suffered a disappointing loss and setback that could have had a big effect on the side was the 6-0 defeat at Chelsea.

That occasion, we responded well and continued to pick up points to maintain our top four challenge.

There has been a big rallying call from Richard Dunne, citing how we rebounded well after the Chelsea game and we do need to pick ourselves up from what was a disappointing exit on Tuesday.

Whilst it is fair to say no-one expected us to be sat in fourth spot as we approach the half-way of the season, and that we have overachieved on where we were expecting us to be, we are in fourth on merit and have a great opportunity as we head into the new year.

The trio of games that face us over the Christmas period - Aston Villa, Blackburn and Liverpool are obviously crucial games, and even moreso given their proximity to us in the table. A return of seven points for instance from these games and we will have cemented our position in the table.

Villa will be a tricky game however. They have fared well this season (perhaps unlucky to be on the end of a defeat in the earlier season meeting) and Martin O'Neill has had more time to put his stamp on the side. They are fairly solid at the back, and possess youth and pace up front which could trouble us.

Michael Johnson may miss out for us, whilst I imagine Garrido could well face the axe after Tuesday night. Obviously away from home has been a problem for us so far this season and it is imperative we get back to winning ways on the road.

I don't see it tomorrow however, but we should be good value to come away with a point with a 1-1 draw.