League Match 26: Wolverhampton hosts Aston Villa


Aston Villa face-off against former manager Paul Lambert for the first time since his sacking in February 2015. Legendary manager Graham Taylor, who managed both clubs, will be honored on Saturday.

Steve Bruce will be without Jordan Ayew and Jonathan Kodjia as the group stages of AFCON begin this weekend. In addition, Pierluigi Gollini left Aston Villa for Italian side Atalanta on an 18-month long loan deal.

It is Sam Johnstone’s team now.

Other than that missing trio, there are no new injury concerns presented to Steve Bruce aside from Gary Gardner – he will miss the match. Nathan Baker was able to fight off his back injury during last weekend’s FA Cup loss to Tottenham.

Paul Lambert, freshly installed as Wolves manager, will also have a full squad for which to work with.

PROJECTED ASTON VILLA XI (4-2-3-1): Johnstone; Hutton, Chester, Baker, Amavi; Jedinak, Tshibola; Adomah, Grealish, Bacuna; McCormack.

SUBSTITUTES: Bunn, Elphick, Cissokho, Westwood, Green, Davis, Agbonlahor

Gabby Agbonlahor may get the start over Ross McCormack, but I think we all saw how lifeless the Villa attack was with a solo Gabby isolated up top.

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Aston Villa are woefully shy on attacking options with both Jonathan Kodjia and Jordan Ayew missing. Youth players, André Green and Keinan Davis occupy bench spots less than 72 hours after playing in a Premier League 2 match.

Davis netted two goals in a 4-3 loss to West Bromwich reserves.

Ashley Westwood could get the start over Tshibola in order to control the tempo away from home. However, pairing Westwood and Jedinak together with an advancing Jack Grealish risks the midfield getting overrun by numbers and mobility.

The Villa back line remains the same; Alan Hutton continues to occupy the right back position.

We will be seeing a lot more of Sam Johnstone. Let’s hope he can continue to build upon his promising start last weekend against Spurs. Steve Bruce’s first match in charge came against Wolverhampton, a 1-1 draw.

Kickoff at the Molineux is 12:30PM Eastern Time.