With there being no Friday Night Football in EFL this weekend, our main highlight from this weekend is the West Midlands derby between Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Villa Park.
Villa come into this match in a four way fight for the second automatic promotion spot and ten points off Wolves, who lead on 76 points.
A win therefore is a must for Villa if want to keep pace with Cardiff City, who could be seven points ahead before this match.
Aston Villa are still without striker, Jonathan Kodjia who remains out with an ankle injury since August.
Alan Hutton is expected to miss this game with a hamstring issue so Neil Taylor will deputise.
Jack Grealish is available again after a calf injury kept him out of last three matches.
Ex Stoke midfielder, Glenn Whelan is doubtful after he limped off during the 3-0 win at Sunderland in midweek.
Steve Bruce therefore has a tough choice to make with Mile Jedinak and Birkir Bjarnason hoping to feature.
Joshua Onomah was benched in midweek so will be keen to return to the starting lineup in place of Whelan.
Wolves will make the trip without full back, Phil Ofosu-Ayeh who is still recovering from tendonitis issue picked up early in season.
Midfielder, Ruben Neves could return after serving a two match suspension.
Benik Afobe could be handed a start after impressing in the 3-0 midweek win over Leeds United.
Aston Villa are currently in good form, winning their last two and drawing once since a 2-0 away loss at promotion rivals – Fulham on 17th February.
In that time, they have netted eight goals and conceded just three times.
Since 2018 arrived, the Villains have been unbeaten at home in five games winning four and drawing one against Preston North End.
That draw was the only time that Villa haven’t scored at least twice at home this calendar year, averaging 2.8 goals per home game.
Wolves meanwhile are starting to get into a rut with one win, two draws and a loss from last four matches.
That loss came away at fellow promotion rivals, Fulham a week after Villa went there and again by a 2-0 result.
Both teams however took 3-0 away wins in midweek.
- Aston Villa haven’t beaten Wolves since their final Premier League in January 2012. Since then, they drew here last season but Wolves won both of their home legs 3-0 on goal aggregate.
- Three of last four meetings at Villa Park have all ended in draws of 2-2, 0-0, 1-1 with Wolves winning 1-0 in-between the former two draws.
- Villa’s last home win over Wolves came in December 2003 when they took a 3-2 victory.
- Wolves have a W3 L2 so far this season against their current top five rivals, scoring six and conceding four from five meetings.
- Villa have lost all four away matches to their promotion rivals but won at home to Fulham in October.
- Steve Bruce has a (W5 D6 L7) record against Wolves.
Where game can be won and lost?
|Per Game Average||Aston Villa (Home)||Wolves (Away)|
|Shots on Target||4.53||4.17|
|Goals per First Half %||51.6||44.4|
|Goals per Second Half %||48.4||55.6|
Realistically, you have to fancy Aston Villa here because they are more solid in attack but the on target and goal averages are close.
Defensively, Wolves are marginally better with an average of 0.19 less fouls than Villa but the discipline from both teams leaves a lot to be desired.
Both sides have picked up two red cards but Villa look the more likely to see straight red, given their yellow card average at home.
In summary, if Villa can keep their discipline and utilise their top scorer, Albert Adomah well then this game could be theirs.
I fancy a tough battle here with both teams scoring but Aston Villa just edges it for me.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Result: Aston Villa 4-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers