Tottenham will travel to Villa Park for a Boxing Day fixture looking for all three points in the race for Champions League football next season. Paul Lambert's side, meanwhile, will have to recover fast from the 8-0 drubbing they received at the hands of Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge, on Sunday.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 5.30 pm GMT. Live coverage is on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 1 HD. Radio commentary is available on BBC Radio 5 live. Catch highlights of the match on Match of the Day, on BBC One and BBC One HD at 10.25 pm GMT.
Lambert will have to earn his money for this game... for he has the unenviable task of motivating the Villans after the hammering at the Bridge. Any thoughts of a Liverpool-like performance and win were swiftly dismissed by the Blues', for whom an increasingly dangerous Fernando Torres scored the opener after just three minutes.
Villa did well to limit the damage to three goals at half time but were simply overrun in the second half and it will be interesting to see if the manager sticks with his young centre back pairing; the club's first choice pairing of Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker have a combined age of only 44.
All is not doom and gloom though and Villa fans will be confident that the Chelsea disaster was merely a blip. Statistically, as a matter of fact, the club were unbeaten since a similarly poor 5-0 defeat to champions Manchester City, at the Etihad, in mid-November, before the trip to west London. And that was a run of six games unbeaten (three wins) across all competitions.
Lambert will hope for a similarly stirring response.
Spurs, meanwhile, seem to have faded away somewhat after a strong run in November and early December. Tottenham's disastrous 5-2 defeat to north London rivals Arsenal, at the Emirates, was a catalyst for Andre Villas-Boas' men to go on a five game unbeaten run (including a 2-1 win over Liverpool at home) before Everton ended that streak.
The probable point of concern, though, is the club scored 12 goals between 25 November and 9 December but have scored only once in two matches since then. AVB's game against Stoke, over the weekend, was a goalless affair, with the home side unable to penetrate the Potters' back line.
However, all such speculation is academic. On the pitch, a win for Tottenham (sixth, 30 points) will see them put pressure on Chelsea (third, 32 points), Arsenal (fourth, 30 points) and Everton (fifth, 30 points) in what is becoming an absorbing race for the final two Champions League spots for next year.
- Last Five Matches (all competitions, most recent first): L W W D D
- Last Match: Chelsea 8 - 0 Aston Villa
- Last Five Matches (all competitions, most recent first): D W L W W
- Last Match: Tottenham 0 - 0 Stoke City
Villa have a number of injury concerns, with Gary Gardner, Darren Bent and Richard Dunne all unavailable. In addition, Bulgarian Stiliyan Petrov is also ruled out; he is being treated for acute leukemia.
Dutch defender Ron Vlaar and striker Gabriel Abonlahor face late fitness tests, while winger Charles N'Zogbia's knee seems rather more serious. All three missed the defeat to Chelsea but the former two are more likely to be available than the ex-Liverpool youngster. Former Manchester City midfielder Stephan Ireland, who was on the bench at Stamford Bridge, is likely to start this game, as Lambert shuffles his pack.
Probable Line-Up: Guzan; Herd, Clark, Baker, Lowton; Bannan, Ireland, Lichaj, Holman; Weimann, Benteke
Tottenham will be without American forward Clint Dempsey, who has a groin problem. The good news for AVB though is the return of Cameroon left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto. The African may not start this game, given a lack of match fitness, but expect a place on the bench and a cameo at some point.
More good news arrives in the form of England midfielder Scott Parker, who could make his first Premier League start since recovering from an Achilles injury. French centre back Younes Kaboul is still unavailable, with a knee injury.
Probable Line-Up: Lloris; Walker, Gallas, Vertonghen, Naughton; Lennon, Parker, Dembele, Bale; Defoe, Adebayor