By 90Min
October 13, 2017

Two of the Championship's most in-form sides clash on Saturday, when Wolves welcome Aston Villa to Molineux.

 

Nuno Espirito Santos' men are currently second in the table, while Villa have risen to seventh after their superb September.

David Rogers/GettyImages

This is the first time in a number of years that an encounter between these West Midlands rivals has been viewed as such a pivotal game, and it is being eagerly anticipated by both sets of fans.


League Form

Wolves (DWWLW)

 

Wolves beat Burton in their most recent game before the international break, having lost the previous game to Sheffield United 2-0. Interestingly, the Wanderers have looked much more effective away from home, than at Molineux.

 

Wolves last four league games at home have seen slip-ups against Cardiff and Bristol City, as well as narrow victories against Barnsley and Millwall.

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 Aston Villa (DWWWW)

 

It's a good time to be a Villa fan at the moment, as the club are currently unbeaten in their last eight league games. Impressively, the Villans have won their last four Championship games, scoring ten in the process.

 

Ominously for Wolves, Villa have convincingly won each of their last two away games, by at least a three goal margin.

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Team News

Wolves

 

Conor Coady is available again for Wolves after missing the victory against Burton due to suspension. However, Willy Boly and Ryan Bennett are expected to miss the weekend clash through injury.

 

Yet thankfully, Santos' men have emerged from the international break without picking up any fresh casualties. 

 

Aston Villa

 

Steve Bruce is left with a dilemma in defence, after Neil Taylor picked up a red card against Bolton in the club's previous game.

 

The 56-year-old has a plethora of potential replacements at his disposal, including Bikir Bjarnason, Ritchie De Laet, Alan Hutton and James Bree.

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It is likely however, that given his defensive knowhow, De Laet will be drafted in to replace Taylor.

 

Bruce has previously attributed poor results after the  international break to fatigue, and has before suggested he may rest players who have travelled long distances.

 

Yet, it is unclear whether Bruce will opt to change a settled team who are making a habit of picking up three points.

 

Potential Wolves Starting Lineup: Ruddy, Batth, Coady, Roderick, Doherty, Neves, Saiss, Vinagre, Cavaleiro, Bonatini, Jota.

Potential Aston Villa Starting Lineup: Johnstone, Elmohamady, Chester, Terry, De Laet, Snodgrass, Whelan, Hourihane, Adomah, Kodjia, Davies.


Key Battle

 

Ruben Neves v Glenn Whelan

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Wolves will likely dominate possession on Saturday, and if so, Neves will be key to unlocking a well-organised Villa defence. Whelan will most likely be tasked with the job of breaking up the opposition play and preventing the young Portuguese midfielder from creating chances.

 

For many Villa fans, the jury is still out on Whelan. This weekend could be a great opportunity for him to demonstrate his defensive qualities, which will be needed if Villa are to emerge victorious.


Prediction

 

It will certainly be a tight and tense game at Molineux, which is unlikely to yield many goals.

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Wolves home form is good, yet not outstanding. Villa, on the other hand, have been in superb form over the past month and Bruce will be desperate to see his side's unbeaten run continue.

 

A draw seems likely from this crucial encounter, and perhaps, if there is to be a winner, the Villans may just sneak it.

 

Prediction: Wolves 1-1 Aston Villa

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