Swansea City-Aston Villa Preview
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Aston Villa will be looking for their first win of the Premier League season when they welcome Swansea City to Villa Park on Saturday.
Villa's 1-1 draw at Newcastle before the international break gave them their only point of the opening three games, but manager Paul Lambert's project at the club will take time to settle in, and striker Gabriel Agbonlahor believes that the competition for places amongst the new youngsters will strengthen the side.
"I think this season it's going to be interesting because there's a lot of the young strikers doing really well in training," said Agbonlahor. "It's going to be hard for everyone. No one in the squad is guaranteed a starting place. They're going to be coming after my place and that's the same when I was younger coming through, I was going for other players' places.
"It keeps the older lads, not just myself, but in every position, on their toes and gives us all competition. The gaffer said he was going to try and bring in a few more faces to help the squad so it's going to be good competition."
The Villa fans have been patient at the start of the season, and Agbonlahor urged them to stick with that attitude as the team try to build a new style.
"What he (Lambert) is trying to build into us is that if someone gives the ball away you don't moan, you just go and win it back for your friend," explained Agbonlahor. "We've been working on that a lot in training and games and I think that mentality will help.
"He's said to us, when you lose the ball then it's nice to have a friend who's there to come and help you win it back and then you can do the same for him. A lot of it is fitness, but a lot of it is, as well, being sharp, chasing the ball down, hunting in packs really."
Swansea's seven points from their opening three games was one of the stories of the opening month of the new season, and manager Michael Laudrup hopes that the international break won't have damaged his team's form.
"It's always the question mark when you have the international break whether the momentum will be lost, today was the first day everyone was back," said Laudrup. "Apart from Michel Vorm with Holland, our players have not had a good week with their international sides. But I am hopeful they will recover quickly and they are ready, mentally more than physically, for Saturday.
"We have momentum but it is going to be a very difficult game. They got a point in a difficult game with Newcastle and they will want to give their crowd a first win. We have to be very focussed. I think it's important we stick to what we know we can do and always try and improve. That always has to be the mentality."
Villa are without Joe Bennett (ankle) and Samir Carrutherrs (ankle), while Gary Gardner (knee), Richard Dunne (groin) and Marc Albrighton (foot) are also sidelined. Swansea are without Kyle Bartley (thigh) and Niel Taylor (ankle).
Swansea took four points off Villa last season, winning 2-0 in Birmingham - their first ever win at Villa Park in eight visits.
The Villans are without a Premier League win in 13 matches, drawing six and losing seven in that run.
Updated September 13, 2012