Back to normal business with Crystal Palace at Villa Park

I hope you all had a nice Christmas and are well fed, but it's now over and normal business returns. I like Boxing Day football because it's how Christmas ends and because in Sweden we celebrate Christmas on the 24th, it's the day I can do a roast.

And that said, lets get down to business, but before looking at today, we should have a little look back because West Brom was a good win and it kept us in a good place. It was also good to see El Ghazi get a couple of goals. the hard work seems to have paid off. Or at the very least, getting into the opportunities.

But winning those games is only good, if we win the next one and create a little momentum. It's why they say there are no easy games in this League and it's why every game is important. A win today will be creating that little bit of optimism we need ahead of next Monday.

And I'm only writing this next part because it's easy to write, but a win today would mean we go into the Chelsea match unbeaten in December. As things stand now, we've got seven points from a possible nine. A win today would be 10 from 12. Ten from fifteen isn't a bad return and if we went the season getting ten points from every five games we'd find ourselves very much in the top four.

So today is important and Crystal Palace are a decent side managed by a man that knows his football and what will be required from his players today. It isn't going to be a walk in the park, but again, there are no easy games in the Premier League.

With that written, it's time to get busy for me. And Christmas is all about today for me. Anything but a win and it's ruined. No pressure lads.

Match facts from the BBC


  • Palace's solitary Premier League away victory at Villa in eight attempts came on Boxing Day seven years ago courtesy of Dwight Gayle's stoppage-time strike.
  • The Eagles have never scored more than once in 17 away league games against Aston Villa, netting 11 goals in total.

Aston Villa

  • Villa's tally of 22 points after 12 games is their best in the Premier League for 19 years.
  • However, they have gone four Premier League home matches without a win, losing three of them.
  • Dean Smith's side have already kept seven league clean sheets this season - the most in the division and as many as they registered in the entirety of 2019-20.
  • The Villans have gone three successive Premier League games without conceding for the first time since a run of four between January and February 2010.
  • Aston Villa are vying to win top-flight fixtures on consecutive Boxing Days for the first time since 1988 and 1989.

Crystal Palace

  • Palace have won only five of their past 22 top-flight fixtures (D4, L13).
  • The Eagles have gone 13 league games without a clean sheet since beating Southampton 1-0 at home on the opening weekend. It is their longest such run since a 14-match streak ended in November 2017.
  • Crystal Palace's Boxing Day fixtures have produced an average of only 1.5 goals per game, the lowest ratio among teams to have played at least 10 times in the Premier League on that date.
  • They have lost just two of their 10 Premier League matches on 26 December (W3, D5), and are unbeaten in all three away fixtures on this date.
  • This will be Roy Hodgson's 341st Premier League game as manager, putting him 10th ahead of Rafael Benítez in the all-time list.