Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Aston Villa – Pre-game Assessment

Sunday, Oct. 8, 14:00 pm – Molineux

Referee: Rob Jones

I think most professional soccer players would agree that other than facing Man City at the Etihad, the worse threat to a wining streak would be facing a local derby rival.  There appears to be no greater satisfaction in soccer than beating your nemesis, especially a local antagonist who is overshadowing you.  In recent years, Wolves has been one of Villa’s worst nightmares.  In fact, in the last two seasons, we have only gained one point out of the possible 12 points.  With Wolves coming off their brave repudiation of Manchester City last Saturday (2-1), their chances to give us grief are very high.

To make us Villa fans even more uneasy, consider the following: Our two defeats this season were in front of hostile crowds (at St. James Park and at Anfield).  Molyneux will be comparable on Sunday.  We are playing with very thin coverage for Digne at left back (Moreno is not yet match fit).  Digne was found to be lacking the pace of Salah in the Liverpool game.  Neto may be as fast as Salah.  Also, our Villans have been susceptible to direct kicks into our penalty area and Wolves, in Dawson, has one of the most dangerous headers of the ball in the league. 

If those weren’t bad enough, our boys will be coming off a Europa Conference League game against Zrinjski and only two days to recover for Sunday.  We already have players who were not able to play in the Thursday game (Diaby, and Kamara) and who knows who will be available to face Wolves.

Did I mention that Wolves goalkeeper, José Sá, has been playing brilliantly?  That 15th place Wolves represent more of a concern than a 3rd place Brighton may look illogical, but it does represent the reality. 

In Emery’s Wolves game preview, he was pointedly concerned at his lack of fit players as he admitted that Moreno and Ramsey have aggravated their injuries and will not play.

Thankfully, John McGinn came to the rescue heading in the winner in the 95th minute against Zrinjski (1-0) from a perfect cross from Matty Cash and many of those ecstatic Villa fans will make their way to Molyneux on Sunday to make sure that we will not lack for support and noise.

That alone gives us hope.

Result Prediction:

For the reasons given, I think our Villans will have to settle for a tie.  Prediction:  Wolves 1, Aston Villa 1.

Predicted Villa Line-Up:

Aston Villa: Martínez, Cash, Konsa, Torres, Digne, Luiz, McGinn, Tielemans Zaniolo, Bailey, Watkins

Subs: Olsen, Traore, Duran, Dendoncker, Chambers

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