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Villa v. Swansea Preview: Four on the trot for Tactics Tim?

Aston Villa have won three straight outings. It's unbelievable. But a stern Swansea side visit Villa Park tomorrow and Sherwood's men must keep their foot on the gas pedal.

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

I'm going to start with a claim and we'll go from there.

Swansea City are the least-interesting team in the Premier League at the moment.

I looked at the table today and saw they were in ninth, ahead of West Ham United. They're on 40 points, yet have only scored 33 times in 29. They don't have the drama that a club like the Hammers or Newcastle have had lately and they sold their best player over the Winter Break. They play in a stadium that seems like the most lifeless one in the league on the tele and are from some inconsequential place in Wales I had never heard of before their promotion.

They're just kind of there, playing for nothing right now.

But despite all of this, they're set to prove a stern test to an Aston Villa side that desperately need the three points when these teams meet tomorrow at Villa Park.

The last two results for Swansea? One-goal defeats to Tottenham and Liverpool. They probably should've beat the Reds on Monday night but they couldn't convert when they had the upper hand in the first half. The two before that? Wins over Manchester United and Burnley.

They're playing really well at the moment despite having the proverbial "nothing" to play for.

But you'd hope that would be tested by Tim Sherwood's men tomorrow, with Villa having far, far more to play for.

As like the last few, this is a huge game in Villa's push for survival. A win would move the Claret and Blues to 31 points and that's a number that probably isn't more than four or five points from the necessary target this year. We'll all talk about 40 points but it's fairly likely that 35 might do the trick. Villa get close with a win here.

The other nice thing with a win? It gives Villa a bit of margin of error heading into the rest of the year. Home matches against QPR and Burnley are still to come for Sherwood's men and going in with a nice pad between yourselves and those teams puts you in a position where you're not quite feeling the pressure; and perhaps not quite making the mistakes that often come along with it.

Alan Hutton is back for Aston Villa. I'd be extremely happy about that but in truth, I'm not sure he deserves a spot in the staring XI straight away. Sure, he's been great this year, but Saturday's win at Sunderland showed the importance of having good, attacking full-backs as Leandro Bacuna and Matt Lowton tallied assists in three of Villa's four goals at the weekend.

Villa's attack has been really good the last few outings and they're playing to their strengths — breaking quickly, using Christian Benteke to the best of his abilities and trying to run in behind defenders — something that should immediately spell success. While they're not necessarily creating better chances statistically, they're creating better chances in the confines of how the team plays it's huge.

One of the things a Spurs fan told us after Villa appointed Sherwood was about how he took the reigns off Tottenham when he got the job.

He's done the same at Villa and it's proving incredibly successful. Charles N'Zogbia looks like the player Villa bought from Wigan for £10 million all those years ago. Gabby Agbonlahor suddenly appears to be really good again. Scott Sinclair has been nothing short of fantastic.

Aston Villa supporters are in a situation where they're maybe not complaining about the absences of Carles Gil and Jack Grealish from starting XIs and that's a beautiful thing to deal with.

But once again, it's all for naught if they don't keep the throttle down when Swans come to town tomorrow.

If Villa don't come out and play with the fervor they have recently, they'll lose the game. Swansea area good side and they're playing well, despite not having much on the line. Perhaps their deflating loss to Liverpool on Monday could benefit Villa?

Though above all else, it could be the Villa Park faithful that play a big role in tomorrow's match. For once, we're all positive, and that's something that flows throughout the entire organization, from the fans to the team. A great start and an early goal could seal three points for the Villa side without much doing.

And I think they'll get them.

My prediction? 2-1 to the Villa.