It is the West Midlands derby on Wednesday evening, as Aston Villa lock horns with Wolves at Villa Park in the Premier League.
The new calendar year couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for Unai Emery’s Villa, who enjoyed a fantastic 2-0 success away at Tottenham on New Year’s Day. Three league wins out of four for Emery means Villa are on an upward trajectory and have climbed up to 12th in the table.
Nonetheless, the Villans should expect a tough game against local rivals Wolves, who are 19th in the table and lost 1-0 at home to Man United on New Year’s Eve.
Aston Villa Team News
Jacob Ramsey and John McGinn are expected to miss out with hamstring problems, while it is hoped Douglas Luiz will be fine after he was taken off at Tottenham with a knock. Diego Carlos remains a long-term absentee with a serious Achilles problem.
Predicted Aston Villa Lineup vs Wolves (4-4-2)
Aston Villa boss Unai Emery has hinted that Emiliano Martinez is ready to return to the fold after his World Cup heroics with Argentina. Martinez was left out of last Sunday’s 2-0 win at Tottenham but should replace Robin Olsen in goal against Wolves in midweek.
In front of Martinez, Tyrone Mings should resume his centre-back partnership with Ezri Konsa as the duo look to keep Wolves’ pacey and athletic forwards at bay. Ashley Young was excellent against Spurs and should keep his place at right-back again, while Lucas Digne continues to impress at left-back under Emery.
With John McGinn suffering a hamstring problem and Douglas Luiz picking up a knock at Spurs, Emery is unlikely to take risks with the two midfielders. Philippe Coutinho could take McGinn’s place as a wide playmaker, hoping to bring creativity and flair to the side.
Calum Chambers might get the nod to replace Luiz in midfield, which should also have Boubacar Kamara and Emi Buendia, who scored in the 2-0 win over Spurs last weekend. Villa’s midfielders will have crucial roles to play to help Emery’s side dominate Wolves at Villa Park.
Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins should again form the two-pronged strike force for Villa. Bailey and Watkins are willing runners off the ball and could cause problems to the flaky Wolves backline with their pace and runs in behind.
This means Danny Ings will again have to be content with a role on the bench. If Villa are chasing the game or in need of fresh legs in attack, Ings could come in during the second half.