Still looking for a win at home this season, Aston Villa go into their Boxing Day clash against West Ham United knowing they will remain bottom regardless of the result.
Remi Garde’s search for a first victory as manager of the Midlands club since replacing Tim Sherwood in October is still ongoing after six matches, and his side sit a whopping 10 points from safety.
Villa have not won in 16 league games – a run that stretches back to the opening day of the campaign, where they recorded a 1-0 triumph at newly-promoted Bournemouth.
Their opponents have also faltered of late; the Irons have not picked up maximum points since beating Chelsea in October, including draws in their last four matches and five of their last six outings.
However, they have suffered injuries to key players such as Dimitri Payet, Andy Carroll, Manuel Lanzini, Victor Moses, Winston Reid and Diafra Sakho, so boss Slaven Bilic saw their point at struggling Swansea, which was their third goalless draw on the trot, as a decent result.
The Hammers, who haven’t scored in their last four matches against Villa, have lost just two of their nine away matches to date, most notably recording wins at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City.
West Ham will be without a number of key players once again.
Payet is expected to return in the middle of January, while Sakho, Moses and Reid are also out.
Carroll could return to the squad after his latest setback, while Lanzini is also nearing a comeback.
Villa captain Micah Richards is doubtful for the clash, otherwise Garde has no other major injury concerns.
League position: Aston Villa – 20th (7 pts); West Ham United – 8th (25 pts)
Last meeting: Aston Villa 1-0 West Ham United – May 9, 2015
League form: Aston Villa – DLLDLD; West Ham United – DLDDDD
Key players: Aston Villa – Scott Sinclair; West Ham United – Mauro Zarate
Shoot says: Aston Villa 1-1 West Ham