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Carroll was the difference last week, but will he score against Villa?
Two teams struggling for form go head-to-head at Villa Park at lunch-time on Sunday.
Villa might have played well last weekend against Everton, but don’t let that performance fool you.
The side from the Midlands have some serious, serious problems to sort out over the next few months.
They’ve been beaten in both domestic cup competitions by lower league opposition and they’re languishing in the bottom three with the worst goal difference in the league.
There’s a reason why Villa are down there. They’re just not good enough.
Villa are missing a natural leader—someone to lead by example.
Shay Given and Darren Bent have found themselves out of form, Richard Dunne has been injured for almost the entire season so far and I’m sure everyone knows about Stiliyan Petrov’s predicament.
Whether it’s down to financial restrictions or Paul Lambert’s stubbornness, some of the players brought in over the summer should not have been expected to be playing regular Premier League football.
No disrespect, but the jump from League One or League Two up to the Premier League is enormous and some of the younger players have been left horribly exposed.
It isn’t their fault, it’s just the situation they find themselves in.
Other players in the squad, like Charles N’Zogbia, Stephen Ireland and, apart from his goal last week, Gabriel Agbonlahor, just have not delivered in any way, shape or form for the last two years, if not more.
It seems to me that Villa are fighting a losing battle and they could well end up being relegated this season.
Their visitors on Sunday are West Ham, who will be boosted by their 1-0 win over Swansea last weekend.
The Hammers’ goal came from on-loan Liverpool striker Andy Carroll, who’s finding his fitness after being out injured for a couple of months.
Sam Allardyce’s side will be in no trouble of relegation and will pull clear of the danger zone over the next few weeks.
Their squad is too strong, too talented and too experienced at this level to be in any danger.
Kevin Nolan, Carlton Cole, Joe Cole, Matt Jarvis, Andy Carroll and Mohamed Diame are all capable of winning games on their own, and if Big Sam can get those players on the pitch at the same time, they won’t be in any trouble.
On Sunday, the Hammers are going to be too strong for Villa and they’ll grab all three points.
Prediction: West Ham win