Aston Villa V Newcastle at Villa Park : Match Preview

13 September 2013 04:31
Aston Villa V Newcastle - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Lambert goes on the front foot

Paul Lambert will not curtail Aston Villa's dynamic style of play despite recognising the need to end a run of 25 Barclays Premier League games without a clean sheet.

The Scot earned plaudits last season for his side's attacking philosophy, even though they spent much of the campaign battling relegation due to their tendency to leak goals.

However, Villa seem better positioned to play with freedom this term after Lambert bolstered his squad over the summer and continues to mould the side he wants.

"Of course I want to put it right at the back but I want a team that's exciting," he said.

"I want to try to attack. This season we've started off by playing really well and we're doing well at the moment."

Lambert, whose side beat Arsenal away before losing narrowly to Chelsea and Liverpool this season, added: "We've taken a lot of confidence from the first three games.

"Sometimes you can walk out of a game thinking you deserved to be beaten but against Chelsea and Liverpool I don't think we deserved to lose. We played really well at Stamford Bridge and particularly in the second half against Liverpool I thought we deserved something.

"You can take that confidence from it because the way we played was really positive. If we keep doing that and keep that belief in what we're doing (we'll be okay).

"I've seen that this week in training. I haven't had to say much because it's been that high-level. We just have to take that into Saturday."

Villa's attacking department has been further enhanced this summer by the arrivals of strikers Nicklas Helenius and Libor Kozak, the latter a late signing from Lazio before the transfer deadline. Kozak could make his Villa debut against the Magpies as Lambert picks from a largely injury-free squad.

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has challenged Hatem Ben Arfa to force his way into the France team by becoming a regular match winner.

The 26-year-old has established himself as a fans' favourite at St James' Park with his breath-taking brand of football, which he used to stunning effect when he produced a piece of individual brilliance to secure a last-gasp 1-0 victory over Fulham a fortnight ago.

Pardew was left both lauding the former Marseille winger's mercurial talent and bemoaning his maverick approach to the game afterwards.

However, he is confident he has a potential football genius on his hands and believes if he can find a level of consistency, he can take the Barclays Premier League by storm and make a major impact on the international stage.

Pardew said: "That's what we are searching for with Hatem, a little bit more consistency in terms of him winning games, whether it's an assist or a goal.

"He has fantastic quality. He is a player the fans love and he certainly got everybody out of their seats the last time.

"But we need a little bit more than that, more from him, more of those moments. I think he would be the first to admit that that's the year he needs if he is going to break into the French team."

Midfielder Yohan Cabaye, a target for Arsenal, remains on board and may return to the starting line-up having worked hard in training on Tyneside during the break for international matches, while the club's one new arrival, loan signing Loic Remy, may be handed a full debut after impressing in his brief appearance as a substitute against the Londoners.

Pardew said: "We got a little cameo of that when Remy came on the pitch the other day.

"Suddenly Papiss [Cisse] started getting opportunities, and that comes from having another striker on the pitch who can threaten the goal of that quality.

"Hopefully, that will take us forward as a team because offensively, we need to improve."

Source: PA