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Premier League

  • 27 August 2011
  • • 12:05
  • • Villa Park, Birmingham
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 30776
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Aston Villa - Wolves Preview: Unbeaten teams go head-to-head at Villa Park

Aston Villa - Wolves Preview: Unbeaten teams go head-to-head at Villa Park

The hosts look to remain unbeaten under new boss Alex McLeish, whilst the visitors approach Saturday's clash having had their best start to a league season in 13 years


PROBABLE LINEUPS
ASTON VILLA

Given
Young, Dunne, Collins, Warnock
N'Zogbia, Petrov, Delph, Agbonlahor
Heskey, Bent

WOLVES
 
Hennessey
Stearman, Johnson, Berra, Ward
Jarvis, Henry, O'Hara, Hunt
Doyle, Fletcher
With no new injury worries, Villa boss Alex McLeish is likely to stick with the same starting XI which saw off Blackburn Rovers last weekend.

Promising young midfielder Fabian Delph is set to keep his place alongside captain Stilian Petrov in the centre of midfield ahead of talented young Scot Barry Bannan, while summer signing Shay Given will remain in goal despite persistent groin problems.

Mick McCarthy will see no reason to change a Wolves starting XI which has achieved the club’s best start to a league season for 13 years by taking maximum points from their first two matches.

Striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake will not be in the match squad after injuring his knee ligaments during the club’s midweek League Cup win over Northampton Town. Sam Vokes, who also played and scored in that game, should replace his team-mate on the bench.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Aston Villa and Wolves are two of seven Premier League teams who remain unbeaten after their first two matches of the season.
  • Wolves were the last team to beat Aston Villa at Villa Park, back in March. Villa are unbeaten in five matches at home since.
  • Until that victory, Wolves hadn’t beaten Villa home or away for 31 years.
  • By taking maximum points from their opening two matches, Wolves have achieved their best start to a league season for 13 years.
  • Of all the top-half teams in the Premier League last season, only Sunderland scored fewer goals at home than Aston Villa.
  • Only Stoke City and Newcastle United scored fewer goals than Wolves away from home in the Premier League last season.
  • Aston Villa reserve keeper Andy Marshall spent 50 days on loan at Wolves between November 2003 and January 2004, making just one appearance in that time.
  • Wolves’ midweek League Cup win over Northampton Town saw boss Mick McCarthy record his 100th victory since taking charge of the club in 2006.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
31Shay GivenGoalkeeper
5Richard DunneDefender
19James CollinsDefender
13Stephen WarnockDefender
17Chris HerdMidfielder
16Fabian DelphMidfielder
19Stilian PetrovMidfielder
-Charles N'ZogbiaMidfielder
11Gabriel AgbonlahorStriker
39Darren BentStriker
-Emile HeskeyStriker
1Bradley GuzanGoalkeeper
6Ciaran ClarkDefender
12Marc AlbrightonMidfielder
46Barry BannanMidfielder
32Stephen IrelandMidfielder
17Jean II MakounMidfielder
14Nathan DelfounesoStriker
26Wayne HennesseyGoalkeeper
5Richard StearmanDefender
16Christophe BerraDefender
14Roger JohnsonDefender
11Stephen WardDefender
7Matthew JarvisMidfielder
8Karl HenryMidfielder
24Jamie O'HaraMidfielder
18Stephen HuntMidfielder
9Steven FletcherStriker
29Kevin DoyleStriker
1Dorus De VriesGoalkeeper
3George ElokobiDefender
32Kevin FoleyDefender
21Michael KightlyMidfielder
-Adam Hammill Midfielder
7Nenad MilijasMidfielder
18Sam VokesStriker
Players to Watch
Darren Bent
Darren Bent
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 39
Games Goals YC RC
3 0 0 0
Darren Bent scores goals. It’s just what he does. He has had his fair share of detractors over the years, and most of the criticism they level at him is justified. His lack of ability with his back to goal has probably held him back from succeeding at one of the Premier League’s top clubs, and he still gets caught offside far more than he should.

But in terms of pure goal-scoring ability and killer instinct in the penalty area, Bent is as accomplished as any frontman in the land. He will be buoyed by his goal against Blackburn last weekend, and the Wolves defence will have to be at their best to keep him out.
Roger Johnson
Roger Johnson
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 14
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
That Roger Johnson was presented with the captain’s armband immediately upon his arrival at Molineux is a mark of his quality.

In two seasons with Birmingham he proved himself one of the most reliable defenders in the Premier League, and so it was inevitable he would get another crack at the big time following the Blues’ relegation last term.

Dominant in the air, an excellent organiser and a formidably good reader of the game, Johnson will need all of his skills and experience to repel an attack-minded Villa side this Saturday.
Prediction
Buoyed by their excellent start to the season, Wolves will be confident of securing at least a point against McLeish's side.
Editor's Prediction
Wolves 1

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