A big match tonight, but all matches are going to be big from now on. You might even say that all matches are must win. Okay, tonight might be 'must draw' to leave the relegation zone, but you know what I mean.

And, thinking like that might not be very nice, but that is the way we have to think. It would be nice to think we can go out to win, but we've got to get the points we can get from now on and if we get a draw, we have to be happy.

When opportunity presents

And tonight is an opportunity. Sure, Manchester City will say publicly that they believe they've got a chance to catch Manchester United, but they don't and we know that and they know that too, but they have to say certain things.

And that help. We are desperate for the three points and they're not. They know they've blown it this season and with that opportunity, we might be able to take advantage. But, it's going to be massive for us to get something tonight and we have to be happy if we can.

And it might very well all come down to one point and if it just so happens we get that tonight, then that is all that matters. If we get more, then we should be ecstatic. If we get more, we shouldn't believe, we should just be happy that we've managed to move forward.

Stats from the BBC

  • Aston Villa have won just one of their last 10 league matches
  • Only QPR have scored fewer goals than Villa in this season's Premier League
  • Villa have not won any of the 13 league matches this season when they've conceded the opening goal (D2, L11)
  • They have lost all nine league matches this season in which they have trailed at half-time
  • Darren Bent has scored seven Premier League goals against Manchester City

Updates and team news

So, with that written, we await team news and the match. I'm not predicting, because my head says one thing and my heart says something else, but I know the optimism will rise later and I'll think something else, so it is probably best I leave that.

Author: Damian
Damian started The Villa Blog as a passion project quite a few years ago while he was living in South Africa. Now living in Sweden, it continues. He's originally from Chasetown and grew up when supporting Villa meant there was a real chance of silverware at the start of every season.
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  • Guest - expat007


    keeping Bennett in the line up. The last two games were the best I've seen him play, although that is still not saying very much
    Bennett as a Left Back? That not his best position, that is ‘left back behind’ in the coach. Play Clarke at CB and Baker at LB, not good but better than having Bennett in defense!!! Bennett in defense is like having Dracula working in the Hospital Blood Bank!!!

  • (DC_Villan): Spurs will sell Bale if they get a big enough bid.

  • Lambert now saying he has found it difficult to leave out the club's experienced stars.

  • Guest - Griffb23

    After the release of the annual figures talk sport reckon were f....d

  • Guest - Trinity London

    Evening Villa Faithfull.

    Question for debate.

    I know he has been immense at times this season, but does anyone feel we play hoof ball and are one dimensional with Benteke on the pitch ?

    Just a thought.

  • Guest - muz1


    we were ****ed before the release of the annual figures. :):):)

  • When needs must we have to play our best players that will give us a fighting chance to stay up.

    N'zogbia is coming into form which is a good thing. Now when Bent is back we play Bent and Benteke up front.

    Weimann is a good player in the making BUT he is not the player that will get us out of the situation right here right now. We have to put the fear of god into the oppositions defence. Weimann is NOT the player to do this right here right now !

    Everyone thinks Weimann is great, we need to look beyond Weimann for the 10 remaining games to pull us through. Bent comes back we play him, N'zogbia now back in form, and we terrorise the opposition defence.

    I don't really know why I should be talking about this because Benteke and Weimann have scored goals but they cannot elevate us from our current position.
    Weimann and Benteke has been going all season and we are in the bottom 3.
    **** that, it's Bent and Benteke if we want to get out of this!!!

    Think outside the box, it's not worked with Weimann and Benteke.

    We play Bent and Benteke up front from now on.

    Or are some still happy plodding along with Benteke and Weimann up front?

    Bent back he plays with Benteke from now on!

    Or do we just limp out of this league because some Villa fans including Lambert, love Weimann ?

  • Guest - muz1


    Agreed, also any falling out between players and manager needs to be put on the back burner while we fight for our lives.

  • (Griffb23): Talksport is just tabloid radio, its a joke of a station whose opinions and views are meaningless.

  • jonnah: if Bent is fit he has to start simple as.

  • Guest - expat007

    jcv Where are you mate.
    Its getting desperate on here. Just come in from the bar and decided to see what has been posted since I went for a drink or two and what do I find! Five (5) posters in well over three hours, this is the depth that we have sunk to.
    Villa fans are so despondent that they can no longer bother to contribute! I have made the effort. Why! I haven’t got a fu*king clue maybe I thought it will help to get us motivated to inject a little enthusiasm before the Reading game.
    I cant enthuse myself so why I think I can help other Villa fans to have a feel good feelings, God only knows. I try desperately to be confident that the Villa will turn over Reading, fu*king Reading not Man U, Man C, Chelsea, its Reading a nothing Club and I fear the result.

    As someone posted earlier, what have Aston Villa come to, it’s the pits and it is very difficult to be passionate any longer following The Villa.

    Still you, me and other long standing fans are cursed and whatever the outcome of the next two games and this season we will still be lumbered next season and the seasons after that. It’s a marriage without the option of divorce and we are committed and will go to the grave following The Villa.

  • Muz, Wind,

    Agreed lads, there is nothing that we can do with our defence, they will continue to ship goals as its proven all season.
    The way to get out of it is to put more emphasis on our strikers to remove the pressure from the back line.

    Bent has to play !

  • It has to be the Kevin Keegan philosophy: if you score 3 we will score 4.

  • Guest - gmjvilla

    I know this a football blog but my thoughts go out to Christina Edkin's family tonight. I live in London but makes me realise knife crime is not just a London problem. A girl taken before her time.

  • Jonnah

    I think Bent is as good as gone mate, can't see him wanting to stay anyway as he hasn't really come out with anything suggesting he likes it at Villa.

    We do need to get more goals though, it seems to be all about that final delivery and Gabby sprinting down the left wing isn't really doing it. What about if we were to move Bennett up to left mid and bring in Lichaj as a left back instead? Bennett looks like he can cross and attack pretty well but can't defend to save his life.

  • Guzan

    I can only look to Bent's last game. He came on, transformed the team and we scored two goals, in which he uplifted the team in the process against West Ham. It was the last game that we have won.

    We have to change something, we cannot just go along as we are for the next 10 games, hoping and thinking that we can pull through. Lambert has plans and choices that he only can make.

    The defence is not going to change and will continue to leak goals between now and the end of the season, as we have seen all season, there is nothing the team can do about it. So the strikers have to try and make up for the loss that our defence keeps making.

    What we have to do is try and remove the pressure from the defence by putting more pressure on the oppositions defence.

    Weimann is not the player that can achieve this. Darren Bent is.

    We have 10 games left, and as we have seen this season it's obvious that how we play has not worked.

    What can be any worse than playing Darren Bent from what we have seen this season ?

    Darren Bent has not come out complaining about what has happened over the course of season, kept himself to himself. We cannot just sit still as we have seen from the last 15 games or so, we have to do something.

    Darren Bent is a Villa player, and from what I have seen particularly in his last game against West Ham, he wants to play, we need to change tack.

    Score more goals, make the opposition become more worried about playing Villa by playing Darren Bent, which will relieve pressure on our back four because it's clear the system or players that we are playing is not working, and has been a total failure moving through the season.

    Do we just carry on as we are doing nothing ?

    Why wouldn't we change the strike force. What have we achieved this season? We have not scored that many goals. Why not put at 20 goal a season striker back into the team knowing that the likes of N'Zogbia is playing better.

    We have to do something, we cannot just carry on as we are!

    Why should we not play Darren Bent, i'm still dumbfounded that a 20 goal a season player is not playing in a team that is 3rd from bottom of the league.

  • Jonnah,

    Not saying we shouldn't play Bent, just that I don't think Lambert will. He doesn't seem to be part of the "plan" for some reason which I can't quite understand myself! I just try not to care too much now as it p****s me off to no end and I don't like being in a bad mood, especially when none of my mates are Villa fans eh?

    I should probably get some sleep now

  • Guest - Bobby 6 Killer

    Bent was injured the past 2 games.

  • Guest - Blitzballer

    Lambert wont be going even if we do go down apparently...

    Paul Lambert will retain his job as Aston Villa manager next season, irrespective of whether or not the club stays in the Premier League.

    The Scot has been assured that his position is safe by Villa's power-brokers ahead of two matches in the next eight days that will have a crucial bearing on the outcome of the club's season

    Villa travel to Reading tomorrow and then host QPR as they look to kick-start a season that has only sporadically threatened to kick into life.

    The club's supporters are experiencing their third flirtation with the drop in as many seasons with Lambert claiming just five victories in the league since taking over from Alex McLeish.

    Despite a triumph at Manchester City in the early rounds of the Capital One Cup, humiliation followed after Villa were defeated by League Two Bradford City over two legs in the semi-final.

    A further embarrassment in the FA Cup at Millwall also upset the club's support who have seen just three wins in 14 matches at Villa Park this season.

    They are in the bottom three at present due to an inferior goal difference to Wigan Athletic. It will be the first time since 1987 that the club has dropped out of the top-flight, if Lambert fails to improve the current situation.

    However, it appears that American owner Randy Lerner has little appetite for change, despite the financial impact that demotion would have on a club that only last week posted significant losses.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2289919/Paul-Lambert-told-job-safe-Aston-Villa-down.html#ixzz2MvdvvAH8
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  • Jonnah

    Bent for Weimann?

    Bent for Agbonlahor

    makes more sense to me if scoring goals is what we need to do [and we do]

  • If we are going with Bent and Benteke then we need to play with width, N'Zogbia has to play one side but the left side is more of a problem Weimann is not a natural winger but Gabby looks totally unfit.

  • If we play with Bent and Benteke the whole team will be given a natural boost. Confidence will sweep through the team that has not been evident all season. Imagine if you're the opposition manager and just been given Villa's team sheet an hour before kick off and you see Darren Bent and Christian Benteke's names in the starting XI.

  • Readings 1st choice striker Pavel Pogrebnyak is still suspended. Winger Jimmy Kebe still out injured, plus their 1st choice goalkeeper Adam Federici is a doubt for tomorrow.

  • When you see what Wigan did to Reading - surely we can beat them or are below even Wigan now as a club?

  • One report says that Readings 1st choice keeper Adam Federici is a doubt for tomorrow. Another report says that goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (shoulder) is still out injured. Perhaps they do not have a goalkeeper fit at all, and we can shoot into an empty net ! ;)

  • Guest - Granger

    Jonnah I like your optimism about us shooting into an empty net rather than at one

  • Belfast Telegraph

    'Villa players to blame - Dublin'

    "Dion Dublin insists Aston Villa's players have to shoulder the full responsibility for an "absolutely woeful" season ahead of Saturday's relegation clash at Reading.

    "Former Villa striker Dublin believes Villa boss Paul Lambert should have paired strikers Christian Benteke and the currently injured Darren Bent on a more regular basis."

    But Dublin claimed: "I thought Villa might have played Benteke and Bent both up front but there is something gone on. We don't know what it is.

    "Bent is a goal scorer, you can play him in the fourth division or Champions League and he will still score goals. Having both of them up front would have given Villa more of a chance of having a better position in the league and scoring more goals."

    * See even Super Dion Dublin says that Bent and Benteke should be playing together more often.


  • Dion Dublin was a top quality and respected Aston Villa striker, he knows what is best for Villa moving forward.

    If Dublin says when fit, we should play Bent and Benteke together, then we should do !

  • Granger ha ha... Reports also say that this La Fondre has gone missing in front of goal, plus also Jason Roberts is out injured.

    Could it be the best time to play Reading with all their injuries and suspensions... ?

  • Could it be the best time to play Reading with all their injuries and suspensions... ?

    It certainly ought to be but I suspect Reading are looking at us and thinking the same, they must think we are there for the taking- and sadly its hard to argue.

  • Wind

    It could be like watching two pub teams tomorrow ;)

  • Guest - expat007

    jonnah & windofchange

    It could be like watching two pub teams tomorrow
    Yes and neither could run a piss up in a brewery!! :D:D:D

  • expat

    And neither would be able to find the brewery in the first place !! ;);)

  • James Nursey on Twitter:

    Speaking after Lambert's press conference today.

    James Nursey ‏@JamesNursey
    "#AVFC Lambert says Vlaar trained last 2 days and appears likely to return tomorrow."

  • Has anyone seen or heard official notification that our Chief Scout - Henke has officially left the club ?

    He was due to leave middle of February.

  • Guest - expat007


    Has anyone seen or heard official notification that our Chief Scout - Henke has officially left the club? He was due to leave middle of February.
    Does it matter and anyway The Yank will be glad to get him off the pay roll. Next one Lambert????;);)

  • Guest - Desperate Villan

    How about this side???

    Guzan (Awesome all season-lets hope he don't go!)
    Lowton Vlaar Baker Lichaj
    Carruthers Westwood Delph/Sylla N'Zogbia
    Bent Benteke

    Everyone heard how well Warnock has been doing at Leeds???

    Time to bite the bullet Lambert and play the lads with the ability to get us out of this.

    Warnock was a good steady left back and we froze him out for Bennett who is never a premier league player YET!

    Clarke is very overated, to error prone and never looks in control of situation,

    Baker is similar but has much more potential & a hell of a heart if he is controlled by Vlaar

    However both of them were blooded into the side to quickly so not their fault by any means

    Weimann is another that i think people allow his goals to overshadow the fact he is not quite ready YET to be the player we need

    Gabby is not the player he was, but in all honesty for me was never more than a substitute forward

    As for Ireland, what the ?uck are you people watching, he has offered nothing for years and i was actually a fan of the deal that brought him here, how i have had to eat humble pie on that one

    You could argue Bent doesn't offer much but his goal record speaks for itself and as others have stated "how can a team in our position be turning our noses up at a 20goal a season striker???"

    I have said before Lerner has not done much wrong for me until January,

    He got in the manager many fans wanted and gave him 23million to spend,

    How many teams ABOVE US have had that amount to spend?????

  • Expat

    Does it matter and anyway The Yank will be glad to get him off the pay roll. Next one Lambert????

    Yep next one Lambert bring in Gianfranco Zola !!

  • Timothy Abraham on Twitter:

    Lambert's post press conference.

    Timothy Abraham ‏@TimothyAbraham
    "Karim El Ahmadi doubtful for tomorrow's trip to Reading with an ankle injury. Ron Vlaar should be back, Darren Bent likely to miss out."

  • Guest - The Black Pearl

    Bent is injured (foot) and out for this game.

  • This game looks like it has come too soon for Bent.
    Hopefully and it looks like Bent will be back next week against QPR.

  • Desperate Villan

    You could argue Bent doesn't offer much but his goal record speaks for itself and as others have stated "how can a team in our position be turning our noses up at a 20goal a season striker???"

    Some good points you make on your post mate !

  • If we can't beat Reading tomorrow, it's over for us as far as I'm concerned. Reading are the poorest team in the prem currently by my reckoning.

  • All this talk of Bent - isn't he injured?

  • If we can't beat Reading tomorrow, it's over

    I said this before the Wigan game - and here I am still saying it, still while there are games left and its mathematically not over there is something to cling to.

  • Reading are starting with their 3rd choice goalkeeper tomorrow, the other two are injured !

    If that's not an incentive to go and win this game then I don't know what is ?
    Shoot on site should be the orders !

    Stuart Taylor ex Villa GK will be playing against us.

  • Guest - expat007


    Reading are starting with their 3rd choice goalkeeper tomorrow,
    That does not excite me to much, I seem to remember a unknown goalkeeper, what was he called, um; thats it Nigel Spinks did he not play ok playing well somewhere in Holland!!!!

  • d-day tomorrow guys,day of reckoning 3 points or goodbye.Time to see what these guys are truly made of!!!

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