Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa sit next to each other in the Premier League points table, but there is a 10 point gap between the two. Ninth placed Villa will get a chance to reduce that gap to seven when they visit the Molineux Stadium on Saturday afternoon. On the other hand, Wolves will look to pick up all three points and keep the European qualification spots in sight.
Wolves were involved in one of the most thrilling Premier League matches of the season before the international break, but Bruno Lage’s men surely did not enjoy it. In the end, they threw away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Leeds, with Raul Jimenez seeing red under controversial circumstances.
Wolves remain in contention for a European spot, but they did themselves no favour losing four of their last six matches. A top-four finish was not out of the question a few weeks back, but now, a Europa Conference League position seems to be the most realistic target for them.
The West Midlands side have had a Jekyll and Hyde form in front of their home crowd as well. In their last six home matches, they have won three and lost three. Their last draw at home came in December when they forced a point out of Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.
Jimenez might not be the only big-name absentee for Wolves, with Ruben Neves, Nelson Semedo, and Pedro Neto all are in a race against time to regain full match fitness before the Aston Villa game.
Like their Saturday hosts, Aston Villa have been pretty inconsistent lately after an impressive start under Steven Gerrard. They have the same amount of wins and defeats in their last six Premier League outings, but they have lost both of their previous two games in the league.
Defeats to West Ham and Arsenal have all but extinguished Villa’s hope for European football next soon. A good run of results from now on could only guarantee them a top-half Premier League finish. But, that could be a good foundation for Gerrard’s team to build on for the next campaign.
Villa have not been wildly successful against Wolves in recent times. They were on the losing side of a five-goal affair in the reverse fixture at Villa Park. After making it back to the Premier League in 2019, Aston Villa came out on top only once in five encounters with Wolves.
Gerrard will be thrilled to bring back his marquee January signing, Lucas Digne. He will replace veteran Ashley Young, who had a torrid time trying to contain a lively Bukayo Saka in Villa’s previous match. Marvelous Nakamba is the only Aston Villa squad member who is not fit for the trip.
As their results suggest, both Aston Villa and Wolves are going through an erratic patch. The fate of this Midland derby swings like a pendulum, but we will back Aston Villa to win this because they don’t have as many injury concerns as the home side. Without a number of first XI players, Wolves could suffer another home defeat.
Aston Villa to win @2.65.