Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Aston Villa

Competition: Premier League – Arsenal vs. Aston Villa

Venue: Emirates Stadium – Sunday, May 15 – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Arsenal 1/7 – Draw 7/1 – Aston Villa 16/1

Match Preview

Arsenal welcome already relegated Aston Villa to Emirates Stadium for the final game of one of the most unpredictable Premier League season’s in history.

While unpredictable on the whole, there is something very predictable about how the Gunners’ season has panned out, as securing a top-four finish has once again become the priority in the last few weeks – an objective they have now achieved.

A battling 2-2 draw away at Manchester City last Sunday means Arsene Wenger’s side now only need one more point to secure third.

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However, Arsenal will be desperate to potentially leapfrog their bitter rivals Tottenham on the last day and finish second, although that relies on their neighbours losing away at relegated Newcastle and the Gunners winning.

If Spurs draw, Arsenal would need a most unlikely 13-goal margin of victory over Villa in order to finish second, so the main aim will just be to win the game and put on a show for the fans in what has ultimately been a season of underachievement and disappointment for Wenger’s men.

Aston Villa probably wanted this season to end about six months ago – it has been nothing short of completely disastrous – and you can’t help but feel for the fans.

Last weekend’s goalless draw at home to Newcastle did end a run of 11 straight defeats and avoid a club record of most consecutive losses (12).

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This will be the last time we see Villa participating in a Premier League game after 28 years in the top flight, as they look to prepare for life in the increasingly difficult Championship, and look to bounce straight back up.

The reverse fixture saw Arsenal win 2-0 at Villa Park back in December, while the last clash at the Emirates was a resounding 5-0 victory for the Gunners in February 2015.

Team News

Arsene Wenger may hand playing time to midfielders Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini who are retiring after this match – whether any of them start remains to be seen. Santi Cazorla could play for the first time since November following his recovery from a knee injury. Mesut Ozil has returned to training and could feauture after missing the Man City game with a hip injury, while Danny Welbeck is out for nine months after knee surgery. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carl Jenkinson (both knee) remain long-term absentees, while Per Mertesacker is a doubt with a hamstring injury.

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Aston Villa’s Aly Cissokho is available again following a ban, while Rudy Gestede could return from a groin injury. Alan Hutton (calf), Ciaran Clark (ankle), Kieran Richardson (calf), Jordan Veretout (pelvis), Gabriel Agbonlahor (fitness) and Libor Kozak (fitness) are all doubtful. Jordan Amavi is out with a knee injury and Jores Okore will not feature because of an internal issue at the club.

Key Points

Arsenal’s last five: D/W/D/W/D

Aston Villa’s last five: L/L/L/L/D

Key Stat: Aston Villa have failed to win any of their 17 away games in the Premier League this season since a 1-0 opening day victory at Bournemouth (D3, L14).

Key Player: Jack Wilshere – Arsenal will have been delighted to see Wilshere pull through 70 minutes of an intense game away at Man City unscathed. Keeping him fit could be crucial next season and hopefully we will see a glimpse of his undoubted natural ability on Sunday.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 2-0 Aston Villa – The Gunners should seal a comfortable victory on the final day against an Aston Villa side who will be turning their attentions to the prospect of Championship football next season.


Aston Villa officially relegated for first time in 28 years

Aston Villa’s long-awaited relegation has been officially confirmed following the club’s 1-0 loss to Manchester United today, ending a run of 28 consecutive seasons in English football’s top flight.

The Villains have been simply dreadful this season with major struggles on and off the field confining them to their worst season in their 141-year history.

Manchester United youngster Marcus Rashford may have scored the goal that confirmed Villa’s relegation today, but most fans knew they were doomed from December onwards.

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Villa have won just three games all season and are left 15 points adrift of Norwich in 17th place with four games to play. Their performances have been appalling and preparations for life in the Championship next term will now begin.

Interim manager Eric Black is unlikely to be the man in the dugout come August, but whoever takes over will be stepping into one of English football’s most troubled clubs, with major problems left to be addressed throughout the structure of the organisation.

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Black is the team’s fourth manager this season, following on from Tim Sherwood, Kevin MacDonald and Remi Garde, who were all unable to inspire a squad of players who look out of their depth in the Premier League.

Quality first-team players left the club last summer but none were replaced properly. Losing the likes of Ron Vlaar, Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke meant the season was always going to be tough but few could have anticipated just how bad things have been.

Table: Aston Villa have struggled enormously in every aspect this season.

Table: Aston Villa have struggled enormously in every aspect this season.

The Villains are one of only seven English clubs to have played in every Premier League season to this point but that run will now come to an end.

Two other Premier League clubs will join Villa in the Championship next term, with Newcastle, Sunderland and Norwich all battling for their lives at the bottom of the table.

Aston Villa bounced straight back up following their last relegation in 1987, but a repeat of that achievement looks highly unlikely at this stage, with one of English football’s most historic clubs in complete disarray.

Do you think Aston Villa will bounce straight back up to the Premier League next season? 

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Aston Villa vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Aston Villa vs. Chelsea 

Venue: Villa Park – Saturday, April 2 – 12:45 BST (07:45 ET)

Match Odds: Aston Villa 11/2 – Draw 3/1 – Chelsea 8/15

Match Preview

Aston Villa and Chelsea kickstart this weekend’s Premier League action at Villa Park in the early kickoff on Saturday, with Villa looking to end a run of six defeats on the bounce against the reigning champions.

The problems at the club seem irreparable this season and the sacking of manager Remi Garde on Tuesday may be the signifier that Villa are already preparing for life in the Championship next season, rather than prolonging the fight for survival. Eric Black will take temporary charge of the first-team for now.

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Sitting rock bottom on 16 points is no place for a club of Aston Villa’s stature but it seems they are condemned to the drop, despite still having a mathematical chance of escaping the bottom three.

They have lost six consecutive league games coming into this one and have failed to score a goal in their last three. Things don’t look set to improve anytime soon.

Chelsea are the in-form team in the top flight and have flourished under temporary boss Guus Hiddink, as they are unbeaten in their last 14 matches in the Premier league.

The Premier League is the sole competition the Blues are now involved in. The top four is not completely out of sight as they sit ten points off Manchester City in fourth with eight game to play.

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Since the sacking of Jose Mourinho, Chelsea have crept up the table and another string of positive results could see them challenge for the top four in the final few weeks.

The reverse fixture ended 2-0 to Chelsea back in October, while the Blues also won last year’s clash at Villa Park by a 2-1 scoreline.

Team News

Aston Villa are definitely without Libor Kozak (ankle) and Jordan Amavi (knee). Micah Richards (groin), Jack Grealish (ankle) and Adama Traore (foot) are all doubts.

Chelsea are without Eden Hazard (hip) and Kurt Zouma (knee) for the match. Diego Costa is suspended and won’t feature, while Kenedy is a doubt following a head injury picked up against West Ham last time out.

Key Points

Aston Villa’s last five: L/L/L/L/L

Chelsea’s last five: W/W/W/D/D

Key Stat: Chelsea have won seven of the last eight meeting with Villa in the Premier League.

Key Player: Willian – The Brazilian playmaker has been the best player by a stretch in this current Chelsea team and his form has yet to drop this season. We’re expecting a Chelsea onslaught and Willian will likely be influential.

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Score Prediction

Aston Villa 0-3 Chelsea – In many cases, a caretaker manager can inspire a result in his first game in charge, but this Aston Villa team is far from the required standard. We expect Chelsea to take an easy three points back to London on Saturday. The Villains are doomed and their survival hopes look to be dead and buried.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Swansea vs Aston Villa

Competition: Premier League – Swansea City vs. Aston Villa

Venue: Liberty Stadium, Saturday 19 March – 13:30 ET (17:30 GMT –  Live on Sky Sports)

Match Odds: Swansea City 8/13 Draw 13/5 Aston Villa 19/4

Match Preview

Swansea City host bottom-placed Aston Villa in this weekend’s Saturday evening fixture, in a game Swansea need to win to all but secure their Premier League status for next season. For Villa it’s also a must-win match or they could potentially be 13 points from safety.

Swansea will be pleased that they have picked up six points from their last three matches, picking up wins at the Emirates against Arsenal and beating fellow strugglers Norwich City to ease relegation fears.

Last week’s defeat away at Bournemouth was disappointing but shouldn’t act as too much of a distraction as they still scored two goals and continued to show courage throughout.

The Swans have only picked up five wins at the Liberty this season – an amount supporters will be unhappy with, but the fans are still firmly behind their team after what has been a tough campaign.

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Head coach Francesco Guidolin is expected to be back in the dugout having missed the last few matches with a chest infection. Alan Curtis has done well in the Italian’s absence and deserves further credit for the job he’s done this year.

Aston Villa might as well be thinking about playing in the Championship next season. They have been woeful all season and haven’t been able to produce anywhere near enough quality to stay up.

The West Midlands club have been in turmoil since the second week of the season and three wins is just not good enough at all for any team in the top division.

Upcoming fixtures don’t come easy for Villa with Chelsea to visit next week before they welcome Bournemouth to Villa Park. More off-field problems saw Chief Executive Tom Fox resign on Thursday afternoon.

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Remi Garde still believes he can keep the team in the Premier League but it seems like he’s fighting a lost cause. They just don’t seem up for the fight. But if they have belief they could just pull off the most miraculous escape.

A win here could just trigger something special if the Villains get it. But that’s a tall order.

The reverse fixture was the final match in charge for former manager Tim Sherwood. A late Andre Ayew goal condemned Villa to a 2-1 defeat at Villa Park back October.

Team News

Swansea will be without Andre Ayew as he recovers from an ankle injury. Jefferson Montero could be welcomed back to the side after recovering from illness, while Madou Barrow is a doubt.

Aston Villa are set to welcome back Carlos Sanchez, though Adama Traore and Jack Grealish are still some way off from returning from their injuries. Micah Richards will hope to start but may have to settle for a place on the substitutes bench once again.

Key Points

Swansea City last five: L/L/W/W/L

Aston Villa last five: L/L/L/L/L

Key Stat: Since Swansea got promoted to the Premier League, they have only lost once to Aston Villa and are looking for a fifth-straight win against the Villains.

Key Player: Gylfi Sigurdsson – The Icelandic midfielder has got nine Premier League goals this season and is the Swans’ top scorer. He is deadly on the ball at set pieces and finds the back of the net often. He is key to unlocking this poor Villa defence and is more than capable of creating chances for his team mates.

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Score Prediction

Swansea City 3-0 Aston Villa – Swansea should see this one out with relative ease. They have the home crowd behind them against a Villa side that constantly leaks goals but also fail to score them. Anything other than a home win would go down as a major disappointment for the hosts.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Aston Villa vs Tottenham Hotspur

Competition: Premier League – Aston Villa vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Venue: Villa Park – Sunday, March 13 – 16:00 GMT (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Aston Villa 13/2 – Draw 16/5 – Tottenham 4/9

Match Preview

Premier League strugglers Aston Villa welcome title chasing Tottenham Hotspur to Villa Park on Sunday afternoon in a game between two sides with very different aims.

Villa are on a four game losing streak coming into this one and have been leaking goals in recent games. They lost 4-0 to Manchester City last weekend despite being 0-0 at halftime and looked a depleted side.

Rémi Garde’s side sit bottom of the Premier League. They are nine points away from safety and although relegation is not yet confirmed they’re favourites for the drop.

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Tottenham come into this tie off the back of their 2-2 draw in the North London Derby last weekend – although it was a good point they will rue not taking all three from being in a winning position.

Spurs trail leaders Leicester City by five points but this title race is still wide open. As the season has proved any side is capable of taking points off of one-another so Mauricio Pochettino will be expecting nothing than maximum effort from his players here.

A top four finish is not yet guaranteed for Spurs despite how good of a season they have had. Even though they are pushing hard for their first title since the 1960/61 campaign they must still ensure they are keeping the distance between them and the sides below.

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Team News

Aston Villa have five injury concerns heading into this tie. Libor Kozak, Adama Traore, Jordan Amavi, Carlos Sanchez and Jack Grealish are all expected to be out.

Tottenham have just three injury concerns. Pochettino rested a number of his key players in their Europa League loss midweek but is still expecting to be without Clinton N’Jie and Jan Vertonghen, while Danny Rose is a doubt.

Key Points

Aston Villa’s last five: W/L/L/L/L

Tottenham’s last five: W/W/W/L/D

Key Stat: Aston Villa have conceded 15 goals in their last four games.

Key Player: Harry Kane – The Tottenham goal-machine has netted 17 in the Premier League this season including that stunning effort against Arsenal last weekend, as always we expect him to be key and full of confidence.

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Score Prediction

Aston Villa 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur – Spurs should’t have too much trouble taking all three points here, as last weekend proved it’s a case of getting the first goal against Aston Villa. Hugo Lloris will be desperate to keep a clean sheet and Pochettino’s side have to keep applying the pressure to Leicester so if there is a slip up from the leaders they can capitalise and gain ground.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Aston Villa vs Everton

Competition: Premier League – Aston Villa vs. Everton

Venue: Villa Park – Tuesday, March 1 – 19:45 GMT (14:45 ET)

Match Odds: Aston Villa 19/5 – Draw 13/5 – Everton 3/4

Match Preview

Aston Villa welcome Everton to Villa Park on Tuesday night as they look to keep any faint hopes of Premier League survival alive in front of their own fans.

The Villains are still rock bottom of the table and are eight points from safety with 11 games to play. It looks as if relegation is a certainty but a miracle finish to the season could give them a chance at somehow beating the drop.

They will need to win the majority of their remaining games to stand a chance, however, and that looks to be an impossible task. Remi Garde’s men fell 2-1 at Stoke on Saturday and didn’t show the spirit of a team fighting for their lives.

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They lost 6-0 to Liverpool in their last home game and although the home supporters deserve so much better from their team, they are unlikely to be given much to cheer about on Tuesday evening.

Everton travel to Villa off the back of a ten-day rest following their FA Cup win at Bournemouth and should be fresh for this clash after spending time in Dubai. They lost 1-0 at home to West Brom in their last league game, despite dominating the match, and will be out to get three points here.

Roberto Martinez’s side have been inconsistent all season but they are unbeaten in seven away trips and destroyed Aston Villa 4-0 in the reverse fixture at Goodison Park back in November.

They look to be in good shape to end the season strongly and will hope that three points on Tuesday can propel them into the top half of the league table.

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Team News

Aston Villa boss Remi Garde will be glad to welcome back Jordan Ayew following his three-game suspension, while Jack Grealish and Carlos Sanchez are both nearing returns from injury and could be in contention to make the squad. Libor Kozak, Adama Traore and Jordan Amavi are all definitely out.

Everton have had ten days to prepare for this game and should arrive fresh. Tony Hibbert and Tyias Browning remain sidelined through injury, while Muhamed Besic is a doubt and is unlikely to be risked.

Key Points

Aston Villa’s last five: D/L/W/L/L

Everton’s last five: D/L/W/W/L

Key Stat: Everton have only lost one away game all season and are now unbeaten in seven matches on the road.

Key Player: Ross Barkley – The Everton playmaker has been in good form this season and scored twice against Villa in the reverse fixture. He has five goals in his last six in all competitions and will look to haunt a struggling Villa defence here.

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Score Prediction

Aston Villa 0-3 Everton – Everton cruised past Villa in the reverse fixture and should prove to far too good for their opponents once again here. If Villa show spirit they could cause the Toffees backline problems, but they have looked like a relegated team for a long time and will likely be confined to their 18th loss of the season on Tuesday night.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Aston Villa vs Norwich

Competition: Premier League – Aston Villa vs. Norwich

Venue: Villa Park – Saturday, February 6 – 15:00 GMT (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Aston Villa 11/8 – Draw 9/4 – Norwich 2/1

Match Preview

Aston Villa host Norwich in a huge Premier League clash between two relegation-threatened sides on Saturday afternoon.

Villa come into the game already looking doomed. Their 2-0 loss at West Ham on Tuesday saw them lose for the 15th time in the Premier League this season and they are now ten points adrift of safety.

They will look to lower that ten-point gap here though, as Norwich are the side sitting one place outside of the bottom three going into the weekend.

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An Aston Villa win would keep their faint hopes alive, though a defeat would surely seal their fate. This is the club’s biggest game of the season and they must now step up to the occasion.

Norwich also know this game is monumental as far as their survival hopes go. They lost a fourth-straight game on Tuesday as Spurs thumped them 3-0 and a massive response is now needed.

The Canaries have only won one of their last eleven league games away from home and so this one is extremely close to call as neither side looks in a good position to go and win the match.

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Norwich can take confidence from the fact they won the reverse fixture 2-0 at the end of December, though they have not won away at Villa Park since 1992.

Team News

Aston Villa have been hit with another blow as top scorer Jordan Ayew will miss three games through suspension after his red card against West Ham on Tuesday. That leaves Gabriel Agbonlahor as Remi Garde’s only fit striker as Rudy Gestede and Libor Kozak are both doubts, along with Ashley Westwood, Alan Hutton and Carlos Sanchez. Jordan Amavi and Adama Traore are both definitely out.

Norwich boss Alex Neil has less to worry about on the injury front and he will hope Robbie Brady and Graham Dorrans are well again after missing the midweek game through illness. Alexander Tettey is the only definite absentee as he will serve a one-game ban as a result of picking up ten yellow cards.

Key Points

Aston Villa’s last five: L/W/D/D/L

Norwich’s last five: W/L/L/L/L

Key Stat: Aston Villa have only won one of their last 23 Premier League games.

Key Player: Steven Naismith – The new Norwich attacker has yet to win a game in a Canaries shirt but will expect to hurt the Villa defence enough to earn three points on Saturday afternoon.

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Score Prediction

Aston Villa 1-1 Norwich – A draw would not suit either side but this game looks set to end that way as neither side can boast any sort of encouraging form coming into what is a huge clash. Villa have several key players out, while the Canaries have lost four on the bounce. A hard-fought draw looks likely.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: West Ham United vs Aston Villa

Competition: Premier League – West Ham United vs. Aston Villa 

Venue: Upton Park – Tuesday, February 2 – 19:45 GMT (14:45 ET) 

Match Odds: West Ham 17/20 – Draw 5/2 – Aston Villa 100/30

Match Preview

West Ham United welcome Premier League strugglers Aston Villa to Upton Park on Tuesday night with the two sides battling for objectives at either end of the table.

The Hammers have been in solid form this season but have dropped off slightly over the last few weeks and are now without a league win in two.

They drew 2-2 with Manchester City in their last league game, and given their performance, they will probably be disappointed not to have taken all three points, though it was still a very respectable point.

West Ham have a number of players struggling with injuries heading into this game but will fancy their chance of coming away with all three points.

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Aston Villa still sit bottom of the league but they have picked up in the last few games and are now unbeaten in three.

They come into this one off the back of their 0-0 draw with West Brom and are steadily building on a recovery run.

Every game has to be looked upon with the hopes of picking up points if they are to avoid relegation, but it is still a massive ask.

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Team News

West Ham have seven injury concerns. Four are set to miss out; Andy Carroll, Carl Jenkinson, Manuel Lanzini and Diafra Sakho. Chekhou Koyate, Mark Noble and James Tomkins are all doubts for this tie.

Aston Villa could be without five as Jordan Amavi and Adama Traore are ruled out, while Rudy Gestede, Libor Kozak and Carlos Sanchez are doubts.

Key Points

West Ham’s last five: W/W/W/L/D

Aston Villa’s last five: L/L/W/D/D

Key Stat: Aston Villa have won just once in their last 22 games in the Premier League.

Key Player: Dimitri Payet – The West Ham playmaker is the obvious choice for key player. He can make things happen from anywhere. The Frenchman has bagged six goals in 16 appearances this term.

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Score Prediction

West Ham 2-0 Aston Villa – West Ham need to get back on track if they are to make European football this season. This is a game they will fancy themselves to win but know they cannot afford to relax heading into the tie.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Aston Villa vs Leicester City

Competition: Premier League – Aston Villa vs. Leicester City

Venue: Villa Park – Saturday, January 16 – 17:30 GMT (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Aston Villa 23/10 – Draw 23/10 – Leicester City 6/5

Match Preview

Aston Villa welcome highflying Leicester City to Villa Park on Saturday night in a clash between two sides fighting at opposite ends of the Premier League.

Villa picked up their first league win since August on Tuesday night and their first under Rémi Garde. Although it’s a relief their three points have finally come there is much work to be done for Garde and co.

Garde’s remain rock bottom on 11 points and they must build on Tuesday’s win if they are to stand any chance of avoiding the drop.

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Leicester City come into this one off the back of their 1-0 away win over Tottenham Hotspur and are level on points at the top of the table.

Claudio Ranieri’s are in a prime position to finish in the top four with their current form in mind, and winning the Premier League is not unthinkable given how results are going this season.

Leicester need their star players to continue to perform at the highest level and goals will continue to come from all-over the field. They showed great resilience to take all three points on Wednesday night.

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Team News

Aston Villa have four injury concerns heading into this one. Alan Hutton, Jack Grealish, Jordan Amavi and Gabriel Agbonlahor are all racing to be fit. Rémi Garde is unlikely to change his starting XI after they picked up three points in midweek.

Leicester City have just two injury concerns. James Matthew and Jeffrey Schlupp are both doubts. Claudio Ranieri still has concerns over the fitness of Jamie Vardy and will be looking to give a rest at some point, but he will more than likely start.

Key Points

Aston Villa’s last five in the Premier League: D/D/L/L/W

Leicester City’s last five in the Premier League: W/L/D/D/W

Key Stat: Leicester City have won five of their last six Premier League away games and have kept three clean sheets on the bounce.

Key Player: Riyad Mahrez – The Leicester playmaker cannot be overlooked for key man in this one. He has bagged 13 goals in 20 games this season and always seems likely to make his side tick.

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Score Prediction

Aston Villa 1-2 Leicester City – Leicester to just edge it in a game which will not be as straightforward as it would seem on paper. Villa’s midweek win will have done wonders for their confidence and they will provide a tough task for Leicester in this tie.

LA Galaxy closing in on Aston Villa defender – report

LA Galaxy are preparing to step up their winter transfer plans as the new season draws closer, with the latest reports suggesting the club are closing in on Aston Villa defender Joleon Lescott.

The 33-year-old centre back only joined Villa on deadline day in the summer but the club’s calamitous Premier League campaign means they may need to cash in on some of the bigger earners as they prepare for the prospect of life in the Championship next term.

The Galaxy are believed to monitoring Lescott’s situation closely and want to bring him in to fill the void left by Omar Gonzalez’s departure, with a deal reportedly close, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

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A move to Los Angeles would see Lescott join up with former Premier League stars Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane, who along with Giovani Dos Santos, fill the club’s three Designated Player slots.

As a result, Lescott would not be able to join on a DP contract and so the Galaxy would likely need to use a large chunk or Targeted Allocation Money to secure his services.

The former Manchester City and Everton defender has 18 months left on his Villa contract but reports indicate that the Galaxy are exploring how they can bring him in before the end of January.

As well as targeting Lescott, the Western Conference outfit are said to still be interested in Ashley Cole, while AC Milan midfielder Nigel De Jong is also being monitored.

Would Joleon Lescott be a good signing for the LA Galaxy? Should Aston Villa allow him to leave if an offer is tabled?