It’s a West Midlands derby without a passionate crowd on Saturday lunchtime at Villa Park, when Aston Villa welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Birmingham in the Premier League. The home side are desperate for points as they look to avoid relegation back into the Championship. The visitors also need points – but they’re looking to catch Manchester United and snap up a place in Europe for next season. Read on to see where the best betting value can be found in what should a cracking game of football.
For Dean Smith’s Villa team, this game is all about getting a much-needed three points on the board. Any considerations about local West Midlands pride really do come second to the urgency of the relegation battle facing the Villans. Since the Premier League resumed action, Villa haven’t won in three games. They drew 1-1 away at Newcastle United in midweek, and resumed action after the enforced break with a 0-0 home draw with Sheffield United. Those results sandwiched a 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea. They are currently second from bottom in the table, but only on goal difference. They need a win.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves side have been one of this strange season’s success stories. Now in their second season in the Premier League since promotion from the Championship, the team has a real chance of playing European football again next season. They have played two games since the league resumed action in June, winning them both. A 2-0 victory in London against West Ham United was followed up with a 1-0 home victory against Bournemouth. Betway have them at 7/4 to win to nil on Saturday, which looks like a good bet, given their recent form.
The game between these two sides that took place at Molineux back in November was the teams’ first Premier League clash since the 2011/12 season. It was Wolves who took the three points that day, triumphing 2-1. Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez scored the Old Gold goals, while Egyptian midfielder Trezeguet grabbed a late consolation for Villa in injury time. Coincidentally, the sides had met in the League Cup just 10 days prior to their league game. It was Villa who took the spoils that day, winning 2-1 at Villa Park. They went on to reach the League Cup final, of course, where they were beaten by Manchester City at Wembley.
In the 2017/18 season Villa did the double over their West Midlands rivals in the Championship. Things have changed a lot at both clubs since then, however, and it would be foolish to read too much into results in the second tier when it comes to this game. The lack of a crowd is sure to play a part in this game. Villa would surely have wanted to play a derby game like this in front of their home fans, who might just have given them the edge they need. Silent stands will mean a strange atmosphere for what is usually an emotionally charged fixture.
The teams have met on just nine previous occasions in the Premier League. Out of those games, Villa have won four and Wolves two. Just one of Villa’s victories has come at home, though. Wolves have won once in the Premier League at Villa Park. There have been three Premier League draws in clashes between these sides. Betway have the draw priced at 13/5 on the 1X2 market, if you think that things will end all-square on Saturday. Villa have drawn two of their three games since the Premier League resumed action earlier this month.
It’s worth noting that Wolves have kept 10 clean sheets in the Premier League this season, a sign of strong defensive organisation. Villa will have their work cut out to score on Saturday.
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Our recommended tip for this game comes from Betway, who are offering odds of 13/2 on Wolves winning 2-0. We suspect that this game will end with that scoreline. Wolves don’t concede many goals, and they have looked pretty good since the league resumed action. Villa’s home advantage could have given them an edge in this derby fixture, but without a crowd we suspect they might struggle to lift themselves, despite being desperate for points. Raul Jimenez has 15 Premier League goals to his name this season, and Villa’s defence will need to watch him closely.