Wolves v Aston Villa Match Preview

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Wolves will look to bounce back from last week’s disappointing defeat at Anfield as they face Aston Villa at Molineux. 

Nuno’s side have won their last three matches at home against Villa but look to be more evenly matched with their West Midlands rivals this time around, who have won five of their nine league games so far.

Kick off at Molineux is at 12.30pm on Saturday and the game will be broadcast on BT Sport.

 

Wolves form

Despite picking up a superb win at Arsenal a fortnight ago, Wolves failed to produce a similar level of performance at Anfield last Sunday.

Goals from Mohamed Salah, Georginio Wijnaldum, Joel Matip and a Nelson Semedo own goal gave Liverpool a 4-0 win against a Wanderers side who lacked attacking urgency without the talismanic Raul Jimenez. 

In Jimenez’s absence, Nuno opted to start a front three of Neto, Podence and Traore, but Wolves struggled to create any chances of note without a focal point up front. 

Another concern is that Wolves haven’t kept a clean sheet since the win against Crystal Palace six weeks ago, perhaps hinting that the move to a back four has made them more susceptible in defence. 

Wolves weren’t the first and won’t be the last team to get beaten heavily at Anfield, but they will need to improve their performance drastically if they are to pick up three points against Dean Smith’s men on Saturday. 

 

Aston Villa form

Despite enjoying a perfect start to the campaign, Aston Villa have struggled to find consistency in recent weeks. 

Since a 1-0 win at the King Power Stadium in mid-October, Dean Smith’s side have lost against Southampton, Leeds, Brighton and West Ham but comprehensively beat Arsenal 3-0 at the Emirates in the middle of that run. 

However, Villa have impressed on their travels so far in 2020-21. The VAR-fuelled defeat at West Ham a fortnight ago proved to be the first time they had lost or conceded on the road this season, having previously beaten Fulham, Leicester and Arsenal away. 

As ever, Villa’s key man is captain Jack Grealish. The now-England international has wowed pundits with his performances so far this season and is already just three shy of his goal tally for last season’s campaign. Despite this, the 25-year-old is yet to score in five appearances against Wolves for both Villa and Notts County. 

 

Wolves v Aston Villa team news

Wolves have no fresh injury worries following Sunday’s trip to Liverpool, with Jimenez and Jonny remaining Nuno’s only long-term absentees. 

There is optimism that the Spaniard could return in the early part of next year, as he was seen training outside for the first time since injuring his ACL against Olympiakos in August. 

Following Wolves’ attacking struggles last week, Nuno could look to 18-year-old record signing Fabio Silva to provide a focal point to his side that they so badly missed at Anfield. 

For Villa, Ross Barkley has returned to full training this week, but will probably be saved for the home game against Burnley on Thursday evening. 

Wesley and Bjorn Engels remain their long-term absentees.

Wolves line up prediction: Patricio; Semedo, Coady, Boly, Marcal; Dendoncker, Moutinho; Traore, Podence, Neto; Silva. 

 

Wolves v Aston Villa head to head

Aston Villa head to Molineux looking for their first win in Wolverhampton since 2012, when a Robbie Keane brace and a Darren Bent penalty gave Alex McLeish’s side a 3-2 win. 

Since then, Wolves have won three meetings, most recently a 2-1 win in November last year where goals from Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez earned Wolves their first top-flight win at home to Villa since May 1978. 

 

Wolves v Aston Villa prediction

With two evenly matched yet inconsistent teams meeting at Molineux, the game appears too close to call. 

Wolves’ only home league defeat this season came against Manchester City, while Villa have looked formidable on their travels and have already defeated Liverpool, Leicester and Arsenal this campaign. 

Much of this game will depend on how well Wolves control Jack Grealish, who has shown this season he has the ability to take games by the scruff of the neck and lead his team to big wins, but has yet to do this against Wolves. 

Wolves will have to take the game to Villa to get anything, especially with their new four-at-the-back system leaving them vulnerable defensively in recent weeks. Nuno’s backline will be tested rigorously, with Villa scoring 20 goals in 9 Premier League games this campaign.

Despite this, Wolves never usually let poor runs build up and bounce back from poor results well. Nuno’s side should have enough to put last week’s disappointment behind them and pick up their sixth win of the campaign.

Prediction: Wolves 2-1 Aston Villa

James Wynn is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here.