Aston Villa will host Wolves in the Premier League this Saturday, and both teams need a win to accomplish their season’s targets.
The hosts will want to move out of the relegation zone, while the away side will want to keep the pressure on Manchester United and Chelsea for a place in the top four.
The two sides have had contrasting fortunes not just in the entire 2019-20 season, but also after Premier League resumed earlier this month.
Wolves have won both their games and are undefeated in their last seven league games. Aston Villa, meanwhile, have drawn one and lost one since the league restarted. Dean Smith’s side have not won any of their last seven Premier League games.
Let’s take a look at the key battles in the game between Aston Villa and Wolves:
Aston Villa vs Wolves: 3 Key Battles That Could Decide The Game
#1 Tyrone Mings vs Raul Jimenez
Wolves striker Raul Jimenez has been in sensational form this season, netting 15 goals in the league, scoring in the last two league fixtures against West Ham United and Bournemouth.
The Mexican will be a handful and a big threat to the Villa backline, which will be led by Tyrone Mings, who has had a decent season himself, in central defence.
Mings likes to stay close to opposition attackers and press them, and he will have to do that well against Wolves to keep Jimenez quiet. Any space in the box will be pounced upon by the Mexican forward.
#2 Matt Targett vs Adama Traore
The other player who has had a phenomenal 2019-20 season for Wolves is Adama Traore, who has troubled defences with his pace, drive, and strength; quite a combination.
The Spaniard has linked up well with Jimenez, setting up the Mexican’s last two goals. Traore has nine assists to his name in the Premier League this season and will need to be kept under check by the Villa defence.
At left-back for Villa will be Matt Targett, who has had a decent season, despite suffering a few injuries. Targett will have his work cut out when he faces Traore and Wolves.
The full-back should not give Traore space to run in behind him, and try to keep him out wide rather than cut inside.
#3 Jack Grealish vs Ruben Neves
Aston Villa have looked bereft of inspiration in attack this season, with the exception of Jack Grealish and John McGinn.
McGinn, who was out for a long time due to injury, has not looked the same since returning to the team, and the fans will hope he improves soon with fixtures coming thick and fast.
Grealish, too, has not made that big an impact since the league has resumed. But, Villa will look to him for some creativity, and exploit any weaknesses that exist in the Wolves midfield.
He will, though, be up against a strong midfielder in Ruben Neves, who is quick to press and stop attacks in midfield. This will be an intriguing battle between two talented, young midfielders.
Stats via Whoscored