Villa v Liverpool stats: Delph the key midfield man
Villa's first home game of the season against Liverpool rounds off an incredibly tough start.
The fact that Villa have three points - and a positive goal difference - ahead of the exciting encounter is impressive.
It could so easily have been four too or even six, with Villa boss Lambert feeling that a couple of key decisions went against his side at Stamford Bridge.
The manager will no doubt have put the game behind him now, however, knowing that a match against a side of Liverpool's quality needs the correct preparation and attention.
The last five meetings between the sides have all been close affairs, with Villa opening the scoring in each of the last three.
Goals, it seems, are inevitable, with both sides having been free-scoring since the turn of the year.
Indeed, Liverpool have scored more goals than any other Premier League team in that time  and are one of only two sides - along with Man Utd - to have struck more than Villa  in the same timeframe.
The hosts will need to be wary of Liverpool legend and captain Steven Gerrard, whose record of 11 goals against the club represents his best individual career tally against any team.
Nevertheless, Villa have a player who proved to be a real thorn in the side of the Liverpool team last term.
Christian Benteke netted three times against Brendan Rodgers' side last season and has started the current campaign where he left off the last, having now netted 17 league goals in the calendar year.
Big Belgian Benteke has rightly drawn the plaudits for his exploits but impressive starts to the season by a number of players have ensured that Villa have got off to a start that has exceeded most people's expectations.
One man who has hit the ground running after impressing in the final few months of the previous term is Fabian Delph, standing out in both games thus far with his all-action displays.
The 23-year old had a torrid time with injuries shortly after joining the club but appears to have come out the other side stronger for it.
He's definitely profiting greatly from an extended run in the side.
The former Leeds midfielder came desperately close to opening his top-flight account against Arsenal, having seen a stinging long-range drive hit the foot of the post and he has been everywhere in both games thus far.
A tally of six successful dribbles against the Gunners represented a joint league-high at the weekend and he completed a further three at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
His tendency to drift past opponents stretches beyond this fledgling campaign, however, and of all central midfielders in the league only Moussa Sissoko has completed more dribbles per game in 2013 [2.06].
Defensively he has also been superb and since January 1 only seven Premier League players have won more tackles per game [3.19].
Again, when compared to fellow central midfielders he jumps up to sixth in the leaderboard.
He's higher still in terms of interceptions per match, with an average of 3.94 since the turn of the year only bettered by two Premier League players - Paul Scharner and Morgan Schneiderlin.
Last season, Delph was Villa's most accurate passer of the ball [87.8%] so it's clear that his all-round game has come on leaps and bounds.
Undoubtedly, the midfield dynamo is key figure for Lambert's young lions.
All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.
Go to full match coverage for Aston Villa 0 - 1 Liverpool (23rd August 2013) >
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