Verdict: Wolves win
Best Odds: 5/6
With the only Premier League action on Saturday taking place from behind closed doors at Villa Park, Wolves will make the trip across the Midlands looking to extend on their stellar run of form.
Starting with the hosts, while Aston Villa may have managed to salvage a late point away at Newcastle in midweek, Dean Smith’s men have still been unable to find a route out of the bottom-three. Marking their return from the enforced break with what was a hugely controversial stalemate against fellow Premier League returners Sheffield United, the former Brentford boss has seen his side fail to win any of their last seven top-flight outings, collecting just a pair of points. Throwing away what could be a crucial lead against Chelsea on home soil last weekend and shipping a pair of goals in the space of two minutes, Villa open the weekend with their goal difference still keeping them in the drop zone. Despite breaking the bank last summer, Smith will have a growing headache over his side’s rather glaring issues at the back. With just a sole Premier League clean sheet to their name since Boxing Day, no side in England’s top-flight have shipped more than their 59 strikes so far this season.
Aston Villa have no new fitness worries for Saturday’s visit of Wolves.
Frederic Guilbert is available after injury, while Danny Drinkwater and Henri Lansbury may also be involved for the first time since the Premier League restart.
As for the visitors, picking up a deserved 1-0 win against Bournemouth in midweek, Wolves have really laid down a marker since returning from the enforced break. Along with marking their return with a 2-0 win at the London Stadium, the Oranges are still seen as a dark horse in this year’s Europa League and the mood around Molineux only rises. Collecting 13 points out of a possible 15 over their last five Premier League outings, Nuno Espírito Santo’s men still find themselves dreaming of mounting a stunning top-four charge. With just a sole top-flight defeat to their name since New Year’s Day, Saturday’s guests should also be excited by Raul Jiminez’s extended purple patch. Marking his return from the enforced break with back-to-back strikes, the Mexican marksman has continued to break records this season and now has four top-flight goals to his name in his last five outings. Picking up a 2-1 win when they faced off against their bitter rivals earlier in the season, Wolves will make the trip across the Midlands brimming with confidence.
Wolves also have no new injury problems.
Winger Pedro Neto will be hopeful of a starting spot having caught the eye as a substitute in Wolves’ last two matches.
Key Factors to Consider
- When the two sides faced off earlier in the season, Wolves picked up a 2-1 win at Molineux.
- Aston Villa have failed to win any of their last seven Premier League matches either side of the break, collecting just a pair of points.
- Saturday’s hosts have shipped 59 Premier League goals this season, the worst defensive record in the division.
- Wolves have won four of their last five top-flight outings and are in the midst of a seven-match Premier League unbeaten run.
- Raul Jiminez has recorded back-to-back goals since returning to action and has four goals in his last five Premier League appearances.
Really laying down a marker since returning from the enforced break and still dreaming of mounting a top-four charge, Wolves will make the trip across the Midlands with the mood in their camp at a high. With the Oranges landing a 2-1 win when they faced off against Villa earlier in the season, Raul Jiminez and co should be relishing a showdown against an Aston Villa side in the midst of a real crisis. Collecting just a pair of points over their last seven Premier League outings and holding the worst defensive record in the top-flight, Dean Smith’s strugglers could be in for another long afternoon this weekend.
Verdict: Wolves win
Best Odds: 5/6