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Norwich City vs. Aston Villa, lineups and open match thread

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Last Monday was great, but Aston Villa has made a bit of a habit of following up big wins with even bigger losses. Can they buck the trend against Norwich City? Let's find out together!

Scott Heavey

If things go right, both in this game and other games around the league, this could be the last time I have to talk about Aston Villa's relegation rivals! Of course, things could very easily not go right in either or both of those situations, so let's not get ahead of ourselves. The easiest team to track is Norwich City, as they're playing Aston Villa. You probably knew that already, seeing as how you had to click a link that would have made you aware of that fact to get here. The only way the Canaries could remain even nominally in the relegation discussion would be with a loss to Villa, and even then a lot of other things would have to break correctly. Since those other things would probably be bad for Villa, let's hope Norwich losing is the only part that comes true.

Sunderland isn't in action until Monday, when Stoke City visit the Stadium of Light. That game will probably be terrible and I cannot fathom why it's on a Monday, but it could be rather important should things not go well for Villa today. Newcastle hosts West Ham, and the Toon will be begging for a win after torn apart by Liverpool last weekend. Of the clubs not currently in the bottom three, Newcastle would appear to be the most vulnerable at the moment. That could all change in an instant, but one has to wonder how the board feels about the contract they gave Alan Pardew last season.

And then there's Wigan. The Latics face a tough test against West Brom at the Hawthorns today, and another at home against Swansea on Tuesday. A Villa win today coupled with one point or fewer from Wigan's next two means safety for Villa, while a Villa loss or draw couple with two wins for the Latics means uh-oh time is here once again in full swing. I have a strange affection for Wigan and I'll miss them if they go, but I miss not having to worry about Villa's Premier League status far more than I would miss Roberto Martinez's smile.

Come on , you Villa boys. Let's make this all but a formality.

Norwich City Starting XI: Mark Bunn, Russell Martin, Bradley Johnson, Sébastien Bassong, Robert Snodgrass, Jonny Howson, Grant Holt [c], Anthan Pilkington, Wes Hoolahan, Javier Garrido, Elliott Bennett.

Norwich bench: Lee Camp, Steven Whitaker, Simeon Jackson, Kei Kamara, Ryan Bennett, Leon Barnett, Alexander Tettey.

Aston Villa Starting XI: Brad Guzan, Matthew Lowton, Ron Vlaar [c], Nathan Baker, Joe Bennett, Ashley Westwood, Fabian Delph, Yacouba Sylla, Andreas Weimann, Gabby Agbonlahor, Christian Benteke.

Villa bench: Shay Given, Brett Holman, Eric Lichaj, Darren Bent, Jordan Bowery, Charles N'Zogbia, Barry Bannan