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Premier League Preview: Aston Villa - Swansea City

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Premier League Preview: Aston Villa - Swansea City
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Premier League Preview: Aston Villa - Swansea City
Aston Villa and Swansea City will finish 2013 as they started when they meet at Villa Park on Saturday.

The sides played out a 2-2 draw at the Liberty Stadium on January 1 with Danny Graham's injury-time equalizer earning Michael Laudrup's side a point.

Swansea heads to the Midlands almost a year to the day as the second team in two days to visit Villa Park, with Crystal Palace earning a surprise 1-0 win there on Boxing Day.

Laudrup's charges will now look to inflict a sixth home league defeat on Paul Lambert's side, which has lost four consecutive top-flight fixtures.

But the Welsh club has struggled on its travels this season with only three wins and seven goals in nine games away from the Liberty.

Swansea also slipped to a 1-0 defeat on Boxing Day, at Chelsea, but long-serving midfielder Leon Britton was encouraged by their showing at Stamford Bridge.

"We were hanging in there in the first half, but in the second half we played quite well and we finished the game quite strongly," Britton said after returning from a broken toe to play 90 minutes in the game. "When it's 1-0 you are in with a chance of getting something. We believed a bit more in the second half.

"We were disappointed to lose but we can take things from this game for the Aston Villa match. We can be encouraged by the performance. Villa lost too against Crystal Palace so they will be looking to put that right at home. But we have to go there and be confident. We have won there in the past, so we know what it takes to win there."

Both sides have won once in their four Premier League meetings, with the other two ending in draws. Villa won the corresponding fixture 2-0 last season.

Christian Benteke sealed that victory in September 2012, but the Belgium international will not feature in this game after being ruled out until the new year with a knee injury.

Paul Lambert is also without Joe Bennett (back), Jores Okore (knee) and Charles N'Zogbia (calf).

The visitors are also missing their main striking threat, with Michu undergoing surgery on an ankle injury.

The Spaniard is joined on the sidelines by goalkeeper Michel Vorm and Nathan Dyer (both knee).

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