Saturday's only Premier League game sees a tasty local derby as Aston Villa welcomes West Midlands rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers to Villa Park.
19th placed Villa have picked up two draws and a loss in their opening three post-lockdown games and, despite not scoring many, are looking more solid than before the break. However, they remain level on points with West Ham and Bournemouth in one of the tightest relegation scraps in recent years.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that Wolves are genuine contenders to finish in the Champions League places.
Nuno’s men have been outstanding since the restart, and they now find themselves just two points outside the top four, and their defensive solidity, coupled with their attacking resources, will make them a very, very hard side to beat.
They face a Villa side who, although they’ve picked up two points from their opening three games, have a very difficult run-in, starting on Saturday against Wolves, so this is a hugely important one for Dean Smith.
Their draw at St. James’ Park is exactly the sort of missed opportunity that will cost Villa further down the line, and looking at how Wolves dispatched West Ham and Bournemouth with clean sheets (both fellow relegation battlers), I do wonder how Villa will get anything out of this one.
There is reason to be slightly optimistic if you’re a Villa fan though. When you look at the recent head to head record, The Villains have won two of the last four home games against Wolves; the other two games ended in draws. In fact, Wolves haven’t managed a win at Villa Park since 2011.
However, that could be about to change with Wolves boasting strong away form in the Premier League this season. Nuno Santo’s men have won three of their last four games on the road.
For Villa, Frederic Guilbert and Danny Drinkwater will be assessed before kick-off, while Bjorn Engels, Wesley and Tom Heaton remain sidelined.
Wolves have a fully-fit side with no new issues; former Villa winger Adama Traore started against Bournemouth having come off the bench in their first game after the restart at West Ham, and Raul Jimenez is likely to lead the line.
Match Preview written by Jordan Hall.