Probable Team Lineups: Aston Villa v Wolves
Ready to rumble? Nine games to secure our stay in the best league in the world and it all begins in Birmingham on Saturday.
Our team looks much more ready than the Villans, though. While they have many injuries on key players and fight among themselves, Wolves are getting more and more players back and ooze of harmony and strength.
Fellow midfielders Kightly and Mancienne will be back on the bench already this weekend and Guédioura and Hunty are not far behind.
And despite Wolves having four such accomplished players out of the starting eleven we do in my opinion possess a very strong midfield section. With O’Hara back after not being able to play against his mother club and Milijas in top shape we have – for the first time in this season – a pair of players who can both create goals and score themselves from midfield.
Henry will be guarding the back four and he is gaining better form for every game now. The back four looks very settled and a proof of their excellence is that Jody Craddock has not been able to take his old position back yet.
Our back four have been very much criticised all season, but Stearman and Berra are a very strong central lock even at Premier League standards, in my opinion, and with Foley back at right back we have gained some strength. Big George Elokobi is now in form and is getting stronger as we speak.
To that we can add two wing-men who scares managers all over the country in the team we meet. There is no cure for the runs of Jarvis and with Hammill on the other side – crossing in perfect into the box – our wingers are a constant threat going forward.
And as the extra custard on top of it all we have the perfect solution for a striker in a team like Wolves. A hard working forward who can hold on to the ball and – as we have seen lately – score aswell. Kevin Doyle is said to be a wanted man by many top teams in the league, but he is ours.
So what has Villa to set against this Wolverhampton wonder-team then? Not much at the moment if we look at the back four. With Dunn, Collins and Luke Young all injured and fellow defender Clark serving a ban after ten bookings, Houllier has big problems.
Last season Villa had one of the best defenses in the country, but today they have let in more goals than Wolves. And a back four consisting of Cuellar, Baker, Delph and on-loan full-back Kyle Walker doesn’t scare me much. It smells like an opportunity for Wolves to score some goals!
When looking to their midfield and the striking department it’s a complete different story, though. Reo-Coker or Macoun will probably guard the back four together with Petrov.
Then we have arrived to their best section with Downing and Albrighton on the wings and Ashley Young right behind the spearhead Bent. Like a bow that’s always ready to shoot an arrow at goal. Each and everyone of these forward going quartet are potentially lethal and should be treated as such by our defenders.
So what does the above analysis tell us about the game, then? If I’m right it means many goals in both directions. Despite our relatively stable back line the forwards of Villa are so strong and classy that they will score.
But Wolves have not been strangers to scoring lately either. Four against Blackpool and three against Tottenham. And for the first time we can present O’Hara and Milijas from start and ready to go forward. A weak Villa defence will make that so much easier.
Many goals, but what about the outcome? I think Wolves will get at least one point. It’s not unusual that a derby ends a draw and I will bet on 3-3 and 4-4. It could be the most entertaining game of the season. Below are the starting elevens for Villa Park.
UP THE WOLVES!