Verdict: Aston Villa win
Best Odds: 20/21
Looking to extend on their recent flurry and claim Midlands bragging rights on Wednesday night, Aston Villa will host Wolves.
Starting with the hosts, while Aston Villa might have opened the 2022/23 campaign in the midst of a real struggle under Steven Gerrard, it appears they have turned a real corner on either side of the World Cup break. Continuing to shine since appointing Unai Emery back in October, the Clarets have skyrocketed their way up the Premier League table. Dragging themselves away from a potential relegation scrap, the one-time Arsenal boss should now have a top-half finish at the top of his agenda. Putting in a stellar display on New Year’s Day as they claimed a 2-0 victory away at Tottenham, Villa have taken nine points from their last four top-flight showdowns. With that purple patch highlighted by a 3-1 romp at home against Manchester United on November 6th, Emery’s high-flying squad should be smelling the chance to lay down another marker here.
Suffering a pair of second-half knocks against Spurs on New Year’s Day, Aston Villa are sweating over the fitness of John McGinn and Douglas Luiz on Wednesday night.
Still dealing with a thigh injury, Emery’s side have already confirmed that Jacob Ramsey will not feature here. Likewise, long-term absentee Diego Carlos remains on the sidelines.
As for the visitors, while Wolves might have opened Julen Lopetegui’s tenure with a last-gasp 2-1 victory away at Everton when returning from the World Cup break, they came crashing back down to earth last week. Eventually getting hit with a late 1-0 loss at home against Manchester United, the former Spain boss appears to have quite the job on his hands. At the heart of a relegation scrap in 2023, the Oranges have claimed just a single Premier League win from their last seven attempts – a run that stems back to October 15th. However, while Wolves might be tipped as a real underdog pick on Wednesday, they will be boosted by an eye-catching recent record against their Midlands rivals. In fact, along with clinching an action-packed 3-2 victory when they last made the trip to Villa Park back in October 2021, the midweek guests secured back-to-back wins against the top-half hopefuls last season.
Struggling to find much of a clinical edge this season, Wolves will once again be without the attacking trio of Sasa Kalajdzic, Pedro Neto and Chiquinho on Wednesday night.
Making the loan switch from Spanish giants Atletico Madrid this month, Brazil international Matheus Cunha could be in line to make his Wolves debut at Villa Park.
Key Factors to Consider
- Including a 3-2 victory when they made the trip to Villa Park last season, Wolves claimed back-to-back wins against their Midlands rivals during the 2021/22 campaign.
- However, opening 2023 with a shock 2-0 victory away at Tottenham, Wednesday’s hosts have collected nine points from their last four Premier League matchups.
- Wolves have claimed just a single Premier League win from their last seven attempts – a run that stems back to October 15th.
- Five of the last eight meetings between Wednesday’s opponents have finished with both teams finding the net.
- Aston Villa have lost just a pair of their previous seven Premier League matchups on home soil.
While Wolves might have clinched back-to-back Premier League victories against their Midlands rivals last season, a high-flying Aston Villa should be smelling a chance here. Shocking many on New Year’s Day as they opened 2023 with a stellar 2-0 win away at Spurs, Emery’s new side have continued to shine on either side of the World Cup break. Collecting nine points from their previous four top-flight contests and claiming an eye-catching 3-1 romp against Manchester United back on November 6th, Villa are rightfully tipped as a standout pick here. With Wolves snatching just a sole Premier League win from any of their last seven attempts, the relegation scrappers could face a tough test here.
Verdict: Aston Villa win
Best Odds: 20/21