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N'Zogbia on another survival mission

Charles N'Zogbia has endured four consecutive seasons battling relegation from the Premier League and is determined to maintain his proud record of escapology.

But any hopes of avoiding a nail-biting end to his latest survival act appear remote, with the visit to former club Wigan on the final day of the season appearing increasingly likely to be a pivotal afternoon.

A Premier League record was secured with little fanfare on Saturday afternoon as Paul Lambert's team conceded a goal for the 17th game running, after Fabian Delph's header into his own net deprived Villa of taking a substantial stride towards safety.

A daunting trip to Manchester United is up next, but it will be the forthcoming games against Sunderland, Norwich and Wigan that decide whether Lambert's work in progress can ultimately be deemed a success.

And while N'Zogbia is on a mission to ensure the game at Wigan is virtually irrelevant, he insists there will be no place for sentiment if he is required to help relegate his old club.

"I don't think I'd feel awkward if I had to go back to Wigan and maybe send them down," he said. "I play for Villa now, I hope we can stay up and we'll do all we can to do that."

N'Zogbia's goal seemed to set Villa on course for another welcome win after 55 minutes, but once again Lambert was left to rue another mistake from one of his players.

Bryan Ruiz's corner was swinging wickedly towards goal and Delph, attempting to clear, could only head in. Villa are only three points clear of Wigan, but Roberto Martinez's team have two games in hand. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent