Aston Villa V Arsenal at Villa Park - Match Preview

Lambert unfazed by Villa plight

Manager Paul Lambert is not pressing the panic button over Aston Villa's slide into the Barclays Premier League's bottom three.

Lambert, whose side meets Arsenal on Saturday, has faith in his young squad and wants them to repeat the level of performance shown in their last home game against Manchester United - a battling 3-2 defeat.

The Scot is not enjoying Villa's predicament but at least retains the backing of the club's fans during what still must be considered a transitional period following two testing years under Gerard Houllier and Alex McLeish.

Lambert said: "The bottom three is not where I want to be, that's for sure. Myself, the club or the fans don't want to be there or near that.

"But I also know the bigger picture and it's not just a quick fix. It's the big picture we are trying to rectify.

"It's a results business, something I will never shy away from and the responsibility is mine and what will happen, will happen. It's at the end where you will be judged."

Darren Bent is back in contention after a three-game absence due to an ankle injury.

The England international has returned to training this week after missing the games with Sunderland and the two Manchester clubs.

Left-back Eric Lichaj is also available after a leg muscle strain but Joe Bennett, Chris Herd, Charles N'Zogbia (all knee) and Richard Dunne (groin) are still out.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has challenged his players to make the most of slip-ups from their rivals to swiftly climb the Barclays Premier League table.

The Gunners thumped north London rivals Tottenham 5-2 last weekend, when Manchester United lost at Norwich and Chelsea were beaten away to West Brom, while fifth-placed Everton went down 2-1 at Reading.

Arsenal head into Saturday's late kick-off at Villa Park boosted by their midweek Champions League win over Montpellier, which secured safe passage into the last 16 of the competition.

Wenger feels if the Gunners can build up a head of steam, they can put pressure on the sides above them.

"With what is going on in the league, it looks like the team that can show consistency has a chance," he said.

"If you have a team who doesn't drop points no matter what you do, you will never come back (into contention) once the difference is there.

"We had a difficult period, I hope now we can show the consistency that is needed to come back."

Theo Walcott will miss out with a shoulder injury, while defender Andre Santos (stomach muscle) is also out, but forward Gervinho and defender Kieran Gibbs are again in contention having been in the squad for the midweek Champions League win over Montpellier.

Midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) and Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) continue their rehabilitation.

Source: PA

Source: PA