Manchester United have surged up the table following a six-game winning run.
The Red Devils started the season in poor fashion, claiming just five points from their first five Premier League matches – eight fewer points than league leaders Chelsea.
Since the end of September, however, United have been as good as anybody else, and a six-game winning run has propelled them from a disappointing mid-table to third place.
With 22 matches and another 66 points to play for, there is a sense of belief growing around Old Trafford that top spot is still a possibility, a sentiment held by Villa boss Lambert.
"It's a great football club - world renowned - great players have played there, great players are there at the minute,” Lambert told Aston Villa's official website. "You know you're up against a formidable football club regarding size, finance, players they have bought in.
"They had a new manager take over and another one came in - following one of the most successful managers in Britain. So it's a tough act for any manager.
"They're still a bit away from City and Chelsea regarding points but they are still a top side. They have enough to challenge but they probably know themselves that they can't afford to lose too many more.
"Chelsea and Man City are going ever so well. They have had less defeats obviously than Man Utd. They can certainly challenge. They will have a massive say if they don't win it."
United go into the match with the Villans boasting a formidable head-to-head record, winning the past seven meetings in all competitions and remaining undefeated at Villa Park for a whopping 19 years.