Villa v Man City preview: Lambert – We will compete strongly
Paul Lambert expects Man City to be major title contenders at the end of the season - but it doesn't stop him believing Villa can win on Saturday.
Lambert insists that any of the top teams can get beaten on any given weekend.
But he accepts that over the course of the entire campaign, the big guns rise to the top because of their superior playing resources.
But he believes in his confident team to go out there at Villa Park and put on a determined and dynamic display against the men from the Etihad Stadium.
He said: "You have to compete. You go out there every week to compete.
"On any given day you can beat anybody.
"Over the course of the season, the bigger teams will pick up more points.
"But you are expected to compete and that's what we will do.
"During my time here we have competed with virtually every team we have played.
"Saturday won't be any different. We aren't going to sit there and let them enjoy Villa Park.
"I know Man City have some great players and they are playing ever so well. You look at their manager's record - it's phenomenal.
"They have a huge game against Bayern Munich on Wednesday. If they win that they have six points and are not too far from qualifying. Whether they have one eye on that I don't know.
"But Man City could pick three teams and you still wouldn't know what their strongest side is.
"Over the course of the season you expect Man City to be round about it but on any given day you don't know what can happen.
"Over the course of 38 games it becomes tough because they are used to doing it and they have the squads to do it. Over the 90 minutes anything can happen and that's why you believe you can get a result.
"You just try to win regardless who you are playing against."
Villa, of course, come into this latest encounter on the back of a 4-0 loss to Tottenham in the Capital One Cup.
Lambert doesn't believe this will have any bearing on the Man City clash.
He thinks it will be a "different atmosphere and different game."
He continued: "The mood has been fine. I always say that win, lose or draw you have to let it go. If you overanalyse it, it can make you feel worse.
"You have to put the game into perspective. We made so many enforced changes.
"And we were in the game. I thought the penalty decision could have changed the match. It would have given us a foothold in the game.
"We made a lot of changes. There were lads who hadn't played in a long while and some were back from injury. A lot of the players who got the great result at Norwich didn't play.
"We will have hopefully most of the lads back on Saturday. It will be a different atmosphere and a different sort of game.
"Missing Gabby and Andi were huge losses. That's an attacking force that's been fantastic for us.
"I left them out the other day. Hopefully they will come back. Without them it's been huge ask.
"Anyone who comes in to replace Christian I know will do a good job."
Lambert will be eager to see his side's away form replicated at home, with the difference in point accumulation startling to the naked eye.
Villa boss Lambert is more than aware of the stats and desperate to change the form in B6.
He added: "Your home form is important. Your home form need to be a solid base.
"This is another game we will try and win.
"It's amazing that we have won more games away from home than at home. It's a strange thing that.
"You can't put your finger on why you can't pick up more points at home.
"You have to go out and try to win on Saturday, that's for sure.
"We never set our stall out any different. That's the frustrating thing. We always play to win and I won't change that.
"We seem to be doing it the other way around, winning away from home and not at home.
"I am sure it will come. The law of averages say it will turn. We get too many fans to come and watch us to sit back. We never set our stall out to go and defend."
Villa v Manchester City
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Ashley Westwood remains an injury doubt for Saturday's clash against Manchester City.
Westwood is still struggling with a thigh strain that ruled him out of the Barclays Premier League win at Norwich last weekend and Tuesday's Capital One Cup defeat to Tottenham.
But manager Paul Lambert is hopeful that the likes of Gabby Agbonlahor, Fabian Delph, Ciaran Clark and Antonio Luna will have recovered in time for the Villa Park showdown against City.
Lambert made seven changes against Spurs in midweek after a number of his first-choice players picked up niggles.
That injury list appears to have eased with the exception of Westwood, top scorer Christian Benteke [hip] and long-term casualty Jores Okore [knee].
Villa will be wearing their traditional home kit of claret and blue.
BetBright matchday odds
Villa to win - 5/1
There's more summer fun in store ahead of Villa's clash with Manchester City as B6 hosts another family funday.
Following on from the successes of the fundays before Malaga, Liverpool and Newcastle another one is set to take place before the Barclays Premier League match with the Magpies.
Enjoy the build-up to the game by checking out a host of free activities in the Villa Park Indoor Academy from 12.30pm.
The fun activities include bungee run, sumo suit football, velcro wall, assault course, gladiator duel, rodeo sheep, side stalls - crossbow shoot/cocunut shy, boat racing, air flow racer and face painting.
Mascots Hercules and Bella will be coming along too!
Disabled entrance access at the front - or on the road side - of the Indoor Academy.
Villa can boast a large range thanks to our new deal with Carlsberg.
We have Carlsberg through to San Miguel, along with the newly-introduced cider Somersby which is going down a storm across the UK.
We can also offer a 500ml plastic bottle on the concourses, something that we haven't been able to do for the last three seasons.
We are also delighted to announce that our official crisps are now Walkers.
We also have some great deals for the game with Liverpool.
The Pukka Pie and Carlsberg pint deal is located in the specific-branded Carlsberg units at each level of the Holte End, the North Stand, Trinity Lower and Upper aswell as Doug Ellis Lower. It comes at a price of £6.50.
The offer in the Family Area especially for our young fans and includes mini hot dog, chips and soft drink or chicken nuggets, chips and soft drink for a price of £4.
All around the stadium you can pick up two packets of Walkers for just £2.
The Snooty Pig offer is a hot roast pork bap with stuffing and apple sauce for £4.50 and it's available in Holte Lower and Trinity Lower.
Man City have won six of their last seven Barclays Premier League games with Villa.
The last four Barclays Premier League meetings between Villa and Man City in B6 have seen a total of five goals scored.
Brad Guzan had the most touches of any Villa player in two matches this season - Arsenal and Norwich. No other goalkeeper has done this even once in 2013-14.
Libor Kozak was on the field for one minute and forty-one seconds before scoring his first-ever Barclays Premier League goal.
Man City have kept a clean sheet in three of their last four Barclays Premier League away games.
Villa's match console is the ultimate place to be to follow the game with Man City.
Tune in and be part of the claret and blue conversation.
Before the game starts, the match console will also contain pre-match analysis, interactive polls and a free video package previewing the game.
During the match itself, you can follow the action and interact with Paul Brown and Dan Harrison in the match console.
Paul and Dan will bring you blow by blow action as the game unfolds as well as the thoughts of fans logging-in from all over the planet.
After the game, the match console contains a game report, manager's verdict, stat pack and a picture gallery.
You can boost the coverage of the game in the subscription-only area of the match console.
Here, you can enjoy live audio commentary, with Jack Woodward joined by Tony Morley on the microphone throughout the 90 minutes.
Also, in our subscription area, you get a video interview with Paul Lambert and the star players from the game and extended highlights too.
This costs £4.99 per month or £44.99 for year - sign up today here.