Aston Villa vs. Reading (20:00)
A point against Arsenal will have relieved the pressure on boss Paul Lambert to a small extent, but three points will be what Aston Villa fans crave even more- victory against Reading will be a must in this season’s relegation battle:
– Although the team is low down in the table, Villa have only lost two home games in five this season- the fact that Reading are yet to win on the road makes this statistic even more significant.
– Marc Albrighton was full of energy against Arsenal, recording an average speed of 6.31 miles per hour. A similar performance on Tuesday may be too much for Reading’s players, none of whom managed to clock an average speed of more than 5.2 miles per hour in their weekend game.
– Nine league players have won more than 80 percent of the tackles they’ve gone in for this season, and two of them are Villains. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index suggests that Matthew Lowton and Barry Bannan will give Reading’s attack a difficult time on Tuesday.
– The injured Ron Vlaar hasn’t been messing around in defence this season, making the third greatest amount of clearances in the league with 33 (one every 36.5 minutes on average). Replacement Eric Lichaj will be hoping to improve his record of one clearance every 96 minutes.
A first league win ten days ago lifted Reading out of the relegation zone to boost their supporters. Three points against fellow strugglers Villa would be a great contribution to the Royals’ forty-point target:
– Reading have scored at least once in four of their last five away trips including the league cup tie against QPR- the team will be hoping to continue this record on Tuesday with an early strike.
– Of all the keepers who’ve played more than 500 minutes this season, Alex McCarthy has been the busiest. He’s faced plenty of shots on target, stepping up to the plate with just under one save every 13.5 minutes this season.
– Critical to a relegation ‘six-pointer’ will be for both sides to keep their discipline, and Reading currently hold the third cleanest record in the league. The Royals will be trying not to add to their total of 14 yellow cards and no red cards this season.
– Last weekend, the Royals’ workrate was far superior to Tuesday’s opponents. With a total distance covered of 67.2 miles compared to Villa’s 61.9 miles against Arsenal, Reading will be confident they can wear out their opponents.