Reading v Villa preview stat pack: Lowton the man in form
As we take a look ahead to Saturday's crucial match-up with Reading, the omens look good for Villa.
The narrow defeat to Arsenal was the team's first loss away from home in four league matches, after picking up points against top-half sides Swansea, West Brom and Everton.
Though Reading have won four of their home games this season, their last match at the Madejski Stadium ended in a 0-3 defeat at the hands of Wigan.
They also conceded a trio of goals again in their most recent fixture, going down 3-1 at Everton.
Villa have had more shots per game than their opponents this weekend (10.9 to 9.8) and boast a significantly better pass accuracy (76% to 69%), registering encouraging figures against the likes of Arsenal (81%) and Man City (79%).
Both teams will be looking toward their top scorers for goals, with Christian Benteke (11) one ahead of Adam Le Fondre (10), who looks set to play in the absence of the suspended Pavel Pogrebnyak on Saturday.
While Benteke will be the focus because his late goal ensured victory when Villa met the Royals earlier in the season, Matt Lowton is the man in form.
His performances have been a real positive in an encouraging run that started with a 3-3 draw at Everton.
The right-back has played a crucial role and could be in the thick of the action again this weekend.
The summer signing has acclimatised to the standard of the Barclays Premier League exceptionally and has been at the hub of a great deal of Villa's play this season.
Lowton has, indeed, averaged over 13 more touches per game than any other team-mate in the league, with 63.3 and when the two teams came to blows back in November the full-back was influential.
His total of 98 touches that night was the most he has registered in a Premier League game this season, with the 81 he had at Villa Park against Man City on Monday his next highest figure.
The 23-year-old is clearly a man in form and while his involvement in general play has been evident, the defensive work he gets through has been outstanding.
The former Sheffield United defender ranks 10th in the Premier League in terms of tackles, with 83 and as high as 4th when it comes to interceptions with 70.
His combined tally for both statistics of 153 is the most for any defender in the top-flight and is only bettered by Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin and Fulham's Steve Sidwell.
While the onus will be on the attacking talents to excite at Reading, the dependable work of Lambert's only remaining ever-present has been a feature of the entire season.
Villa have won each of their last four matches against Reading in all competitions and stretching that run to five will give the side great hope in the vital run-in.
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