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Aston Villa v Crystal Palace: Updates, team news, banter and cheeky Benteke bait

Everyone have a nice Christmas? I suspect it was like every Christmas and that's exactly why it's nice. Still, our tradition of football on Boxing Day is even nicer.

It's what makes Christmas Christmas for me. I don't think I 'd like it very much if they brought in a break just to help out a national side that will never succeed while we still have half the players in the league made up of foreign players.

But that is something else. Today it's about Aston Villa.

And this is where I move into blind optimism mode, because today will be even nicer as we really should win. It's a team from the bottom three and we're at home and if you wanted to put money on a side getting relegated, you'd not get a good price on Palace right now.

And now for some real world, slap you across the face, this is the way it is truthful facts about our current predicament. You see, Crystal Palace are, if you look at the current form table, doing a lot better than us.

Current form and pub football

We've had one win in the last six, we've lost the last three and our football is looking like something cobbled together by a pub team manager. And I know that's a bit harsh, but you've got a group of professional football players and all they seem to do is kick long and run, run and run.

What I mean is, Lambert has had 18 months to get the football right and while we saw glimpses of it towards the end of last season, we've gone backwards this season. Many even think he should go and if he doesn't get three points today, there will be more people thinking he has to go too.

He shouldn't go, but he also has to get the football looking better and he has no excuses for not passing, for players not looking to create space or wanting the ball. There are simply no excuses. They are his players and he is responsible for training.

Updates, team news and all that

So on that note, I'm going to have some Boxing Day bacon and eggs and I'm going to take a break for a bit and when the team news is out, I'll be back, but we do know a few things.

Benteke is out as he's taking an extended holiday in Belgium finding a new agent and assessing deals ahead of the January transfer window. Ron Vlaar is probably still out and Ashley Westwood is suspended. Gabby is back though.

But confirmation on team in about four hours. And before I leave you to tuck into my bacon and eggs, if your username is jimbozavfc check your email. You won the trainer competition and you're not replying to emails. If you don't, I'm going to pick the second closest.

Updates below and my prediction; three points for us.