Ashley Young returns for hosts, whilst Baggies sweat on fitness of Odemwingie and BruntContrasting Form Means Contrasting Confidence
Villa have had no win in five matches in league and cup, have lost their last four games and have only won once in their last 10 league matches. However, their home form will be a comfort to them seeing as they have only lost once at Villa Park this season.
After their latest defeat, against Liverpool, Villa find themselves just two points above the relegation zone in 16th position and the pressure is on Houllier.
In contrast, West Brom have won their last two Premier League matches, are currently sitting in 8th position in the table and will be looking to secure their third impressive away win of the season after beating Arsenal and Everton.
Despite their victories at the Emirates and Goodison, the Baggies’ away form is not great, they have lost four of their eight games this season, including defeats at Wigan and Blackpool.
Baggies Aiming To End 31-Year Drought
Villa have a much better record in this West Midlands derby with 73 wins in the 154 matches, with West Brom only managing 50 victories. In their last meeting in the 2008-09 season, Villa were victorious in both matches between the sides, winning 2-1 at both Villa Park and The Hawthorns.
The Baggies have never beaten Villa in the Premier League in eight attempts, losing four and drawing four. And the omens are not good for Di Matteo’s men as Villa Park is a ground they have not won at in the league since 1979.
Gerard Houllier welcomes back Ashley Young following his one match suspension for the game against Liverpool. The Villa boss could also have midfielder Barry Bannan available again after struggling with a recent groin injury.
Emile Heskey is expected to be available again, Nigel Reo-Coker is still a doubt with a knee injury but could feature on the bench, while full-back Habib Beye is also a doubt with an injury.
Villa are definitely without four midfielders for the visit of the Baggies. Marc Albrighton is suffering from appendicitis, Steve Sidwell has an Achilles problem, while Stilian Petrov and Fabian Delph are both suffering with knee injuries.
Possible starting XI: Friedel; L Young, Collins, Dunne, Warnock; Bannan, Clark; Downing, Pires, A Young; Agbonlahor.
West Bromwich Albion
West Brom come into this game in high spirits following their 3-1 victory over Newcastle but boss Roberto Di Matteo has injury concerns over Peter Odemwingie and Chris Brunt. The Italian hopes to be able to name an unchanged line-up for this West Midlands clash.
Youssuf Mulumbu is available again following his suspension after his sending off against Everton but Di Matteo is unlikely to change a winning side.
Possible starting XI: Carson; Jara, Scharner, Tamas, Cech; Tchoyi, Brunt; Thomas, Dorrans, Morrison; Odemwingie.
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