Match Preview: Aston Villa vs. Wolves

Aston Villa return to Premier League action on Saturday afternoon when they welcome Wolves to Villa Park for a 3:00 pm BST kickoff.

The match comes after a two-week international break in which several Villans represented their countries in Europe, South America, and Africa.

Before the pause, Villa dropped a disappointing 2-1 decision at Tottenham Hotspur on October 1. The result came one week after the club secured a historic 1-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Villa currently sit 10th in the Premier League standings with 10 points while Wolves, fresh off consecutive victories, have nine points and are 12th.

Wolves defeated Southampton, 1-0, on September 26, and Newcastle, 2-1, on October 2. Despite their good form, Wolves have yet to register an expected goals number 1.00 or greater in any match this season.

Undefeated in their last two matches vs. Wolves, Villa went 1-1-0 against their West Midlands rivals last season. After securing a 1-0 win on the road on December 12, the sides settled for a 0-0 draw on March 6.

Aston Villa vs. Wolves Team News

Despite playing for Argentina and Brazil on Thursday evening, Dean Smith expects Emi Martinez and Douglas Luiz to be available for Saturday’s match. Whether or not they start or make the bench is to be seen.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 03: Douglas Luiz of Aston Villa during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 3, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Ollie Watkins, Tyrone Mings, and Marvelous Nakamba also return from international duty and are available to Smith. Bertrand Traore picked up a knock with Burkina Faso and will be unavailable.

Also set to miss out is Leon Bailey, who injured himself in the 3-0 win over Everton on September 18. Smith said he “hasn’t ticked all the boxes for the medical department” and “we’re hopeful that he’ll be training after the Wolves game next week.”

For Wolves, Barcelona loanee Francisco Trincao, Pedro Neto, Jonny, and Yerson Mosquera remain unavailable for selection.

Aston Villa formation: 3-5-2 or 4-3-3?

After the loss at Spurs, in which Smith’s 3-5-2 was exploited, it’s unclear whether the gaffer will shake things up or ride the set-up that has yielded two wins in the last three matches.

If Bailey was available, Smith likely would switch to a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, with the Jamaican on the left side and Emi Buendia on the right. As it stands, Buendia and Danny Ings have struggled for form, and perhaps a move away from three at the back would allow the duo to create more chances in the final third.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 03: Danny Ings of Aston Villa during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 3, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

But, with Bailey ruled out, Smith could return to the 3-5-2 with Buendia playing centrally in midfield or directly behind one of Ings or Watkins. The fact is that Buendia is the club’s record signing, and without Bailey, Smith needs to find a place for the Argentine in the starting XI.

Luiz is unlikely to start in midfield, so look for Nakamba to play alongside John McGinn. Buendia or Jacob Ramsey could round out the trio.

Aston Villa projected Starting XI: Martinez; Konsa, Hause, Mings; Cash, McGinn, Nakamba, J. Ramsey, Targett; Buendia; Watkins

Wolves projected Starting XI: Sa; Kilman, Coady, Saiss; Semedo, Neves, Moutinho, Marcal; Traore, Jiminez, Hwang

Date/time: Saturday, October 6 at 3:00 PM BST/10:00 AM EST

Ground: Villa Park

Referee: Michael Oliver

TV/Streaming UK: NA

TV/Streaming US: NBCSN