Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur: Boxing Day Match Preview, Villa Likely Missing Ashley Young But Starting Eric Lichaj At Right Back

Maybe Robert can explain to us exactly what Stewart Downing is doing in this photo? (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)


As far as I can tell, despite BBC not putting Aston Villa v Spurs on the front page of the football section, the game against Tottenham Hotspur will carry on as planned on Sunday. The question is, once again...who will Villa field?

The Aston Villa injurypocalpse is finally coming to a close. Both Fabian Delph and Stiliyan Petrov were in full training this week, but don't get too excited about seeing them come on against Spurs--it'll probably be next week before we see either of them take the pitch. Of course, now Ashley Young is a doubt for the Villa, proving we just can't have it all at once. He has both a knee and an ankle injury. Yippee.

So will we finally see two strikers up front for Aston Villa? The club has both Gabriel Agbonlahor and Emile Heskey fit, which I believe might be just the second time this season that such an event has occurred. What will Gerard Houllier do? He seems to find the 4-4-2 distasteful, but with Heskey's luck in scoring, will he really wait until late in the match to bring him on?

As for the defense, it seems the writing's on the wall. Richard Dunne was set to sit on the bench before the Wigan match got hit by snow, and it's unlikely anything will change against Spurs--it's not as though anyone needs to see him play to pick up Dunne to supplement their backline. With Luke Young still nursing a groin injury, Aaron will have the chance to wear his new jersey proudly as Eric Lichaj will almost certainly start. Unfortunately, he'll have to cope with Gareth Bale, which is going to be much more of a challenge than anything West Bromwich put forth--and there's likely not much chance Marc Albrighton will be much help in defending, no matter what he's saying on the official site. And in more fantastic news, Jermaine Jenas, Younes Kaboul and Rafael van der Vaart are all back from injury.

So grab your extra Christmas booze and settle in for a fun Boxing Day match. This might be the last time some of these players are in claret and blue, after all.

PS--if you need a little extra Christmas spirit, read this lovely gem about "Stale Birmingham."

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