Hopefully we won’t see scenes akin to those at Goodison Park last weekend. Here is Sid Lowe on the aftermath of being the player to inflict a terrible injury on another.
Aston Villa have a tendency of conceding later goals, something manager Dean Smith is aiming to put a stop to.
“A lot of those late goals have been against Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool, so top teams in the league,” Smith said in his pre-match press conference.
“The goals we’ve given away in the last two games, in particular, against Manchester City and Liverpool, have been pretty much avoidable, and that’s been the disappointing part.
“Whenever a team scores against you, it’s disappointing, so the disappointment grows larger because of the lateness of the goals. With Liverpool, that’s down to the amount of time they had the ball, and they kept putting us under pressure. It was pretty relentless at times.
“We’re working on concentration, working on our ball retention because if we’d have kept the ball more in the second half then we wouldn’t have been so tired at the end.
“We know we didn’t have an awful lot of the ball against Liverpool, and probably that was my biggest disappointment, because when we won the ball back, we then gave it away again too cheaply. It enabled them to wear us down, physically and mentally, but our play without the ball was as good as it’s been this season.”
Aston Villa have the most interesting team news with Steer replacing Heaton in goal and Konsa is in the heart of defence, both are making their first Premier League starts. Grealish is also absent.
Considering how much has been written about Liverpool v Manchester City, why not get in the mood for this with some Peter Reid swearing at Boris Johnson:
Nuno Espirito Santo is looking for his team to improve considering their five draws in their last seven games.
“There are a lot of things (the players need to improve). On Thursday, we managed the game better, the distances of the players, because we had a lot of possession, so the impact is totally different.
“This is the growing process that we want, so we have to improve, we have to work a lot, and it’s about growing during the competition.
“Each moment that we compete is a moment that we try new things, new solutions, new lines, new processes. It’s growing with the competition. It’s very good and it’s what the team needs – to compete.”
Wolves: Patricio, Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss, Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny, Traore, Jimenez, Jota.
Subs: Ruddy, Bennett, Neto, Cutrone, Perry, Vinagre, Kilman.
Aston Villa: Steer, Guilbert, Konsa, Mings, Targett, McGinn, Nakamba, Douglas Luiz, El Ghazi, Wesley, Trezeguet.
Subs: Nyland, Taylor, Chester, Lansbury, Hourihane, Kodjia, Elmohamady.
This is the biggest game of the day, as far as I am concerned. It’s 15th against 17th, so both will be fighting to move away from the relegation zone. Wolves will be boosted by a late Europa League win in midweek, while Villa will be looking to take the positives out of their late loss to Liverpool into this fixture.
Wolves are unbeaten in six matches but are still sat in an unwanted position due to the amount of draws they have stacked up. The run includes the 2-0 victory over Manchester City at the Etihad, a performance they will be looking to repeat today.
Villa could be boosted by the return of Jack Grealish, although his availability is not a guarantee due to the calf injury which forced him to miss the defeat to Liverpool.
In terms of West Midlands derbies, this is possible bottom on the traditional list but seeing as they’re the only two teams from the area in the top flight, it should be pretty feisty.
Here’s to a great game.