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The keys to the match: Aston Villa vs Brentford

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Here’s a quick one before the game!

Derby County v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

We know the lineup of today’s game against Dean Smith’s plucky Brentford side - so now we can figure out how exactly Villa are going to win this game, so I’ve decided to quickly dive into the things that need to go right for Villa to grab 3 points in a Christmas raid at Brentford.

Tommy Elphick

He needs to have a good game. Anything less will result in disaster for Villa. James Chester is a great defender, but he’s only one man. He needs solid cover - otherwise he’s going to be ruined. Tommy Elphick will need to allow his partner to have centre-stage while he mops up.

However, Tommy Elphick hasn’t played for Aston Villa in eons, and he will have to jump right into it and jumpstart his Villa career tonight. If he falls, Villa will go down with him.

Scott Hogan

Hogan is up against his old club today, and he is probably thinking he should have stayed in London! Scott worked wonders with Smith and took his chance when clubs came knocking, but injuries, tactics and form have really sent his career into a tailspin. If Villa can open up chances for him - and they will thanks to the presence of Jack Grealish - he needs to take them. This could be his last chance at Aston Villa

Mile Jedinak and Glenn Whelan

Villa’s ‘dynamic duo’ will need to be incredibly smart in this game. Chasing the front four could damn their defence, but staying stuck to the halfway line could blunt Villa’s attack. They’ve got no pace, so they will have to resort to winning the ball and kick-starting Villa’s counter. If they fail to settle, Villa won’t win unless it’s through sheer luck.