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Gareth looks ahead

Gareth Bale quickly turned his attention to Villa on Boxing Day after the frustrating goalless draw against Stoke on Saturday.

The flying winger returned to action after his hamstring injury at Fulham on December 1 and had a couple of chances as we came up against the brick wall of Stoke’s defence at the Lane.

Indeed, a shot count of 21-4 in our favour underlined our intent against the Potters, but there was no way through this time.

“We were on the front foot for most of the game but it was difficult,” said Gareth. “They didn’t have too many chances, we had most of the possession and most of the opportunities.

“It was a bit disappointing not to get the win because we deserved it overall, but it’s a point, we move on and we now look to Villa.”

The lads spoke in positive terms about Villa’s recent renaissance after our match on Saturday - they were then beaten 8-0 by Chelsea on Sunday.

That ended a run of six matches unbeaten and a sequence of just two defeats in 11 in all competitions – incidently, to City and United – since October.

“Paul Lambert has done really well, he’s built a new team and they are gelling together well and starting to play some good stuff now.,” said Gareth.

“It will be difficult, as it always is at Villa Park, but it's a game we’re looking forward to and we’ll aim to get the three points.”