Let's hope all Aston Villa supporters have nerves of steel, because once again Ron Vlaar will be out of action. That makes the third week straight that Villa will be missing their captain in the center of defense. They'll also face Stoke City without Enda Stevens. Joe Bennett may have to have surgery on his leg -- what did he do, pick up tetanus when he got that gash? -- and Richard Dunne has had his face spotted on milk cartons. What is it that Villa are doing to their defenders?
In what's meant to be good news, Charles N'Zogbia returns after six weeks out with a knee injury. Considering most Villa supporters either forgot about his existence, or remain so disappointed in Zogs that they wish they could, classifying this news as "good" might be stretching it. Let's go with "acceptable." Blazing Roaches spoke of wanting to earn a place in the side, but I'm guessing the most he'll get will be a last-minute substitution.
In other words, we're likely to see a starting XI similar to what Paul Lambert set out against QPR:
Brad Guzan; Eric Lichaj, Nathan Baker, Ciaran Clark, Matthew Lowton; Barry Bannan, Ashley Westwood, Chris Herd; Gabriel Agbonlahor, Christian Benteke, Brett Holman
The defense is pretty much set in stone. Lambert can vary the attack, possibly bringing back Stephen Ireland to give Bannan, who hasn't looked his best in the last couple matches, a rest. And there's still the giant Darren Bent question...