On Wednesday, Wolverhampton Wanderers, who are currently in 19th place, will face Aston Villa at Villa Park.
Villa recommenced their league campaign at home against Liverpool and lost 3-1, but on Saturday they defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 on the road. Emi Buendia and Douglas Luiz’s strikes in the second half enabled them to win three of their previous four league matches.
Hugo Lloris miscued Douglas Luiz’s long-range attempt with 50 minutes remaining, allowing Ollie Watkins to tee up Emiliano Buendia for the goal. Midway in the second half, even Luiz scored after receiving a lovely ball from John McGinn.
The Emery movement is taking off at Villa Park, but the Lions are currently outside the top half of the table and are now sitting in 12th place in the rankings, three points behind Brighton & Hove Albion in 10th place.
Wolves’ New Year’s Eve match with Manchester United ended in defeat as the Red Devils resisted duress from Julen Lopetegui’s team before striking the winner in the 76th minute
Marcus Rashford’s impactful replacement for the Red Devils after being benched for being late to a squad meeting reaped off as the England international scored the game’s lone goal and then had a second goal disallowed for handball shortly after.
Wolves are now in 19th place in the league table with 13 points after suffering their third loss in their past four games. To move out of the relegation zone, they will need to win this game.
When & Where?
Venue: Villa Park.
Date: Wednesday, 4th January 2023.
Time: 20:00 BST
Referee: Jarred Gillett.
Assistant referee: Adam Nunn, James Mainwaring.
Fourth official: Andy Madley.
VAR: Simon Hooper.
Jacob Ramsey is yet to recover from his thigh issue and so is Diego Carlos who is out with a long-term Achilles injury. Villa also face fresh injury problems in the midfield as both Douglas Luiz and John McGinn suffered injuries late in the win against Tottenham.
If the pair is ruled out, Morgan Sanson and Philippe Coutinho may be given unusual starts. Emiliano Martinez, despite Robin Olsen’s solid display against Tottenham, should now replace him in goal.
For the Wolves, Diego Costa has now gone eight games without scoring and could be replaced by Raul Jimenez in the starting lineup. Mathues Cunha could also replace Costa as his loan move from Atletico Madrid is finally completed.
Adama Traore is also in line to displace Hwang Hee Chan from the starting lineup as his introduction in the second half against United gave the Wolves attack a whole new perspective.
Sasa Kalajdzic, Pedro Neto, and Chiquinho, still remain sidelined and the extent of their respective returns has not yet been disclosed by Lopetegui. Apart from that, there are no new injury worries for the Wolverhampton outfit.
Unai Emery will set up the Villains in a 4-3-3, making use of high-pressing and quick counter-attacking football. They might not be in the top half yet but are definitely on course to do so with their attractive style of play.
Meanwhile, Lopetegui’s Wolves will also set up in a 4-3-3, with an emphasis on building attacks from the back and creating scoring opportunities through quick, accurate passing. He also places a strong emphasis on defensive organization and structure, with the team often looking to press aggressively to win the ball back as quickly as possible.
The Villans have underperformed in recent encounters with Wolves and will be eager to revenge their two losses in the Premier League last season. They have, however, been in better shape than the visitors this year, and they appear to be in a strong place to prevail.
With just 10 goals in 17 games, the Wolves hold the worst offensive record in the league and could suffer. They have only won once in their last seven league games, therefore they have little chance of winning unless they find the right balance and form among their front three.
In contention to start this matchday, Dibu Martinez is sure to be the key player for Unai Emery’s side against Wolves. The World Cup winner will be put to work by Wolves on their swift counters and dangerous set pieces.
Martinez will definitely be called upon as Unai Emery’s set up does leave the Villains vulnerable to lethal counters and despite Wolves’ scoring woes, it doesn’t take much to turn the tide when given a chance.
Neves is arguably the Wolves’ most crucial player. In order for the Wolves to win this game, Ruben Neves’ best qualities, including long shots, switching the play, and tracking will be crucial.
Neves will have to find a way to tee up chances for the struggling Wolves attack and his long ball ability could come in handy as Villa are vulnerable to goals from counterattacks.
Aston Villa (4-3-3): Martinez; Young, Konsa, Mings, Digne; McGinn, Kamara, Luiz; Buendia, Watkins, Bailey.
Wolves (4-3-3): Sa; Semedo, Collins, Kilman, Bueno; Nunes, Neves, Moutinho; Traore, Jimenez, Podence.