Its time we took some points, and in this big six pointer getting a win is a must. Aston Villa are only three points ahead of us. If we beat them, then we would go above them due to our superior goal difference so getting a win will be important. Can we win it? Well I feel we can.
Gary Caldwell returned on Boxing Day, while Ivan Ramis was on the bench and is now expected to feature against Aston Villa. That would see us return to full strength in our back three, who will drop out? I feel Ronnie Stamm may drop out of the right back position for Emmerson Boyce to move back into that position.
That will be an important move. Stamm's performance levels have dropped off recently and a bit of competition is always good for the squad. The said could also be said for Jean Beausejour, pushing Maynor Figueroa into that position could also force the winger to up his game.
These are the sort of situations we have missed this season due to having so many injuries. Yet players are returning and it is likely that only Ben Watson, Albert Crusat and Ryo Miyaichi will remain on the injury list this going into the New Year. Things are getting rosier and its now time for some points.
Going to Aston Villa has often thrown up some good results. Roberto Martinez's first competitive game managing the club was against Aston Villa, were he looked over a 2-0 win. Can we replicate that? With the correct build up, then yes we can.
Targeting the weak spots in this Villa side will be important. They are young, inexperienced and at times over exuberant. That is what cost them against Chelsea, and Tottenham. They chase balls sometimes they don't need to, they don't tackle when they should, and sometimes they make the wrong pass going forward. It is all part of the learning process, something we are coming out the other side of and it is time our side showed it.
We need to look to get in their faces and force them to make these mistakes. To do this having someone like Franco Di Santo playing will help an awful lot. I can't understand why he didn't start against Everton, whether or not the striker is carrying a knock and they decided to rest him, he always causes defenders trouble and against Villa's inexperienced defense he could work well. Combine that with his link up play with Shaun Maloney and Arouna Kone and you get a very dangerous trio of attackers.
Yet what do we have to worry about? Well there is one man who many felt Paul Lambert over paid for, and they all seemed to be right up until the past month where the Belgian striker burst onto the scene. Christian Benteke so far this season has managed to score 8 goal, which current means he has cost a million pound a goal. A better return than Fernando Torres.
The striker is only young at 22 and has a lot to improve upon and will surely do this with time. Against Liverpool this season he showed his true colours. A bully of a striker who is strong and fast on the ball, mix that with good foot work and the ability to finish, you have a very talented striker. As he gets older he will become a great striker. Yet has he got enough to save Aston Villa? Well he certainly has enough to trouble our humble defence this weekend.
I am hoping, even praying for a Latics win this weekend we need it, and I feel this could be our best chance against a disheartened Villa side.