Aston Villa will aim to exploit Crystal Palace’s defensive weaknesses when the teams meet at Villa Park on Boxing Day.

The Eagles could be feeling deflated after suffering a 7-0 pasting at the hands of Liverpool last weekend.

They were thoroughly outclassed in that game, and the heavy defeat left them with the third worse defensive record in the Premier League.

Aston Villa have enough creativity and attacking firepower in their ranks to cause more problems for Roy Hodgson’s men on Saturday.

Defensive Strength

Aston Villa secured a dominant 3-0 victory over West Brom on Sunday. They have now taken seven points from their last three games, and they are back up to ninth in the table.

The Aston Villa defence has looked very solid in recent weeks. They have kept three clean sheets in a row, and they now have the second best defensive record in the league.

Yet Dean Smith’s men are also dangerous in attack. They have scored five more goals than Crystal Palace so far this season, with the talismanic Jack Grealish at the heart of it all.

He has five goals and six assists so far this season. Ross Barkley could return from a hamstring injury in time for this game, giving Grealish even more scope to wreak havoc in a free-roaming role behind Ollie Watkins.

Benteke Returns

This will certainly not be an easy game for Smith’s side to win. Palace may have suffered a heavy defeat to Liverpool last weekend, but they were unbeaten in their previous three matches.

The Eagles have pace, quality and invention in attack, with Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Ayez, Eberechi Eze and Jeffrey Schlupp all capable of running at Villa’s defence, while Christian Benteke will return from a one-game suspension to face his former club.

However, Aston Villa won 2-0 when these teams met at Villa Park in July, and they have enough quality to pull off a similar result on Boxing Day.

Their fans will also be keen to point out that Aston Villa beat Liverpool 7-2 earlier this season, and they could have a psychological advantage for this game.

Tip: Aston Villa to win

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