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Villa chase Defoe ahead of West Ham trip


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Villa travel to Upton Park on Saturday for a 3pm kickoff to the 2012/2013 Premier League season. For all intents and purposes this should be an extremely difficult game for the Villans given that West Ham have the momentum of returning to the Premier League and Villa are still feeling the effects of Alex McLeish's soul-sapping tenure.

But such has been the turnaround in the mood around the Midlands club with Paul Lambert's appointment that you'd be smart to bet on Aston Villa to take at least a point, if not three, away from West Ham. Lambert's tactical flexibility and variations mean that Villa will be better equipped to handle West Ham's direct approach.

In the backdrop to Saturday's game is Villa's continuing quest for 'refreshing' the playing squad, with several players already brought in by Lambert. It's the players still (maybe) to come that hold your attention though, with Lambert acknowledging to the press that he was looking at Tottenham's Jermaine Defoe as a potential recruit to boost his forward-line.

Defoe's problems at Tottenham are well-documented (as the joke goes, Tottenham have only one senior striker and they sold him in 2008) and there's no doubt that he's improved his all-round game in the last season, but given Tottenham's propensity to drive a hard bargain and their lack of strikers means that any deal that could be done would be done late into August.

And so Villa go to London as a work in process, with Lambert looking to make the team more flexible and attacking while aiming for a certain defensive solidity that was so lacking with his Norwich team last season.

West Ham under Sam Allardyce will be missing a few players but they will also know that Villa's defence is not in the best of shapes and the game threatens to turn into a stereotype with West Ham playing route one football to upset Villa's backline as Lambert puzzles over the right midfield combinations to keep possession and unlock the Hammers' defence.

The history of this fixture is in Villa's favour: West Ham have won only two of their last 11 Premier League home meetings with Villa; a 2-1 triumph in 2009 and a 4-0 win in 2005. West Ham also began their 2010-11 Premier League campaign against Aston Villa. They lost 3-0 at Villa Park and went on to be relegated at the end of the season. In addition, half of the 16 Premier League matches Aston Villa have played at Upton Park have ended in draws.

Defoe would certainly give Villa more incisive options on the pitch or from the bench, but the real value is going to come from Paul Lambert and how he approaches games Villa should be winning (e.g. this away game) if they want to go back to their European ambitions.

Who do you think will win on Saturday?

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I really hope that we don't go for Defoe.

He is 30.

He will be expensive - transfer and wages.

He is a flat track bully - scores against poor defences but rarely against better.

He really needs a partner.

We would be solving a problem for Spurs again!

I would much rather we signed a wide player that could beat a man and create opportunities for Bent or Gabby.

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I think he could do well with Bent.... He normally shoots from outside the box and sometimes they go in sometimes then keeper saves but then Bent could be on the end of that save for a nice little tap in.

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such has been the turnaround in the mood around the Midlands club with Paul Lambert's appointment that you'd be smart to bet on Aston Villa to take at least a point, if not three, away from West Ham. Lambert's tactical flexibility and variations mean that Villa will be better equipped to handle West Ham's direct approach.

Ohhh... :(
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