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P.J. Murray 16th Dec 2011 - 17:16

Villa fans to be left feeling Down-ing

Stuart Downings return to Villa Park for the first time since his mulit-million pound transfer will highlight one thing, Aston Villa's lack of creativity.

Downing ran the midfield for Villa, but since the loss of him and Ashley Young the heart of Aston Villa feels a bit like there's a DNR sign on it. Alex McCleish is also going into the game without the one player who has sparked any creativity so far this season, Gabby Agbonlahor. Having picked up five bookings he will sit and watch from the stands.

Downing scored the winning goal in this fixture last season while playing for Villa. This was the last goal that Downing scored in the Premier League. He is 7/2 to hit the back of the net anytime and go from Villa legend to villain.

Darren Bent struggles for ball as it is, but the hard working striker is going to have to adopt a deeper role if he is to get possession unless Charles N'Zogbia can use this lack of playmakers as a chance to shine. Since his move from Wigan he has really failed to impress and with the January transfer window looming he will find his place in the team under severe threat.

Liverpool, for all their chances and creative play last week against QPR, only managed one goal. It was a far from convincing win as they dominated, but their finishing left a lot to be desired. Luis Suarez (9/2 first goalscorer) bagged the only goal of the game as Charlie Adam provided the cross, but it was more a lapse in defending rather than astute attacking play that lead to the goal. And whatever they may lack in attack with Richard Dunne and Shay Given in defence, Villa have a strong spine.

Downing is not the only one to be lining up against a previous club, Emile Heskey (8/1 first goalscorer) could start in the absence of Agbonlahor.  However youngster Nathan Delfouneso has made a particularly good case for a starting berth and he is 10/3 to hit the net anytime.

At almost even money (19/20) it's hard to look past an away win, despite Villa's win last weekend they are facing a Liverpool side who are really gathering momentum. They have the best defence in the league, but their attack has yet to fire and there is every chance it could be this weekend.  Liverpool to win with a handicap of one goal at 12/5 seems like a nice and big price.

Last week Liverpool had almost hit double figures in terms of corners after they constantly swarmed forward against QPR, over 6/5 for more than 12 corners in the game here could be worth a punt.

This has away win written all over it, Villa will eventually get better but i fear this fixture has come too soon into their revival to really help them.


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