After their win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Aston Villa return to Villa Park, where they welcome midlands rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Wednesday (8pm). Can the hosts make it two wins from two? Or will the visitors bounce back after their defeat last time out?
The Villans looked as if they may be moving in the wrong direction when they suffered defeat at the hands of a Liverpool team that has been a shadow of the team that challenged for the Premier League title last season. They bounced back in timely fashion at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, winning by two goals to nil.
Since Unai Emery took charge, Villa have beaten Manchester United at home and won away against both Spurs and Brighton, which shows us that they are by no means easy to face. They are now up to 12th, and if they can build a little more consistency, then a top-half finish could very easily be on for the boys from Villa Park.
Wolves went into their New Year’s Eve clash with Manchester United in good form. They had beaten Everton on the road on Boxing Day, but that win didn’t act as a springboard for further success, as they were downed by a late Marcus Rashford goal. Not for the first time this season, a lack of both creativity and potency in the final third hindered their progress.
There is attacking talent in this Wolves team, there’s no doubt about that. Both Hwang Hee Chan and Daniel Podence can be tricky customers to deal with, but are either going to be consistent enough? Especially in terms of goals. That pair have notched just two Premier League goals between them this term.
They do of course have Adama Traore, who can really hurt defences with his blistering speed and direct running style, but again is there enough substance? And as for Diego Costa, for all his fight and winning mentality, he probably doesn’t carry the same goal threat that he once did, which might be why he is yet to score since arriving at Molineux.
Improving under Emery?
Since Emery took over at Villa Park, the results have been inconsistent. Aston Villa have won three and lost two, but if we break it down, it does look as though things have improved under the Spaniard, who has got his team to be more threatening offensively for starters.
In the five domestic games before Emery took charge, Villa had scored five goals, failing to score in three out of five. In the five games since, they have scored ten, scoring in five out of five, firing in two or more in four of those five. That is certainly an improvement.
At the other end, things haven’t improved too much, at least not from a goals point of view. In the five games before Emery took the reins, Villa conceded ten goals, keeping one clean sheet. In the five since, they have conceded nine, keeping one clean sheet.
More threatening on the road?
Make no mistake about it, the visitors have struggled offensively this term. They have scored just ten goals in 17 games, which makes them the lowest scorers in the entire division. They are also the worst team in the league in terms of expected goals for, which shows that it’s not just putting the ball in the net that is a problem. Creativity, or rather a lack of it is an issue too.
However, for all their attacking problems, the men in orange have scored with regularity away from home of late. They notched twice at Everton in their last away game, while before the World Cup break, they scored at least once in two straight on the road, notching away at both Brentford and Crystal Palace, neither of which have defences that are terribly easy to breach.
Positive recent record for Wolves
In recent times, it is Wolves who have had the better of this fixture. When the teams last met back in April, Wednesday’s visitors won by two goals to one, while when they last visited this venue, they won by three goals to two, coming out on top in dramatic fashion thanks to a late flurry which culminated in their trusty midfielder Ruben Neves scoring a 95th minute winner.
Interestingly, Villa Park has been a happy hunting ground for the visitors, who are now unbeaten in their last three trips to the Birmingham venue, two of which they’ve returned victorious from.
AVFC vs WWFC: Where’s the bet?
Of the two teams, it is Wednesday’s hosts who have shown a lot more in terms of offensive quality, but their defensive insecurities are a problem, so much so that they don’t exactly look a viable bet at skinny odds of around 10/11.
The bet that does stand out is ‘Both Teams to Score.’ We know that the home team has improved markedly from an offensive point of view, and after notching twice against Spurs last time out, they must be fancied to make a dent in a Wolves’ backline that has rarely kept teams quiet this season.
However, keeping teams out isn’t exactly Villa’s forte. They have recorded just one shutout under the new boss, conceding four goals in two home games.
For all Wolves’ struggles in the final third, and for all they seem to lack an out-and-out goal-getter right not, they have tended to score on the road, notching away against Everton, Brentford and Crystal Palace in recent times. Combine this with the fact that their hosts are keeping many clean sheets and the fact that both teams have scored in four of Villa’s last five and a bet on ‘Both Teams to Score’ starts to appeal. So this is our sole betting tip for this AVFC vs WWFC preview:
- Both Teams to Score @ 10/11 with Bet365.
Bradley Gibbs is an experienced football writer. He is an expert analyst on Premier League, and all global football leagues & tournaments, for Just Bookies. Bradley has been published by many respected outlets, including USA Betting and the Racing & Football Outlook. He has also written betting strategy guides.