Aston Villa vs Wolves: Can Dean Smith’s side continue their European dream with a win over Wolves?

In a highly-anticipated Black Country derby, Wolves will hope to deal a crucial blow to their opponent's hope of a Europa League spot, as they look to maintain their impressive form of late.

When: Saturday, March 6, 17:30 GMT

How to watch: Sky Sports Main Event

Follow the game on our score centre HERE

Best Bets

Aston Villa to win and both teams to score 5/1 (Sky Bet)

Ollie Watkins to have three or more shots and to score in the second half 4/1 (Ladbrokes)

Adama Traore to have one or more shots on target from outside the box 9/2 (Paddy Power)

Can inconsistent Villa get back on track?

L-W-L-W-L-W-D-L-W-L, is how Aston Villa's last 10 Premier League results read. Suffice to say, then, that you don't quite know which Villa side will turn up on any given day at the moment.

Dean Smith's side have had an extremely strong season overall though, and despite that inconsistency creeping in they still sit in the top half and five points ahead of Saturday's opponents, Wolves.

By contrast, their Black Country rivals earned a somewhat patronising distinction of being the team to almost end Manchester City's winning run in midweek - with their late 4-1 defeat being a harsh reflection of a tight game.

Smith will again be without talisman Jack Grealish, who has been sidelined for several weeks through injury.

Ollie Watkins has an impressive return of 10 Premier League goals so far this season.
Ollie Watkins has an impressive return of 10 Premier League goals so far this season.

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Last three Premier League meetings:

Wolves 0-1 Aston Villa (December 12, 2020)

A late goal sealed victory for Villa at Molineux
A late goal sealed victory for Villa at Molineux

In a drama-fuelled Black Country derby, Villa secured all three points at the Molineux courtesy of an Anwar El Ghazi winning penalty in the dying seconds of stoppage time, as both teams left the field with 10 men.

Wolves came closest to breaking the deadlock during normal time - Portuguese teenager Fabio Silva struck the post and Emiliano Martinez made a series of important saves to prevent Nuno Espirito Santo's side from breaking the deadlock, as the game remained goalless.

The hosts were handed a vital lifeline in the game when Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz was dismissed for a second bookable offence, but they were unable to capitalise as Anwar El Ghazi gave Dean Smith's side the lead from the spot, after Nelson Semedo brought down John McGinn.

A visibly frustrated Wolves side were reduced to 10 in the final few seconds as Joao Moutinho received his marching orders for a second yellow, as Villa held on to win the game, moving up to 10th in the table.

Aston Villa 0-1 Wolves (June 27, 2020)

Dendoncker's goal secured the three points for Wolves at Villa Park
Dendoncker's goal secured the three points for Wolves at Villa Park

A second-half Leander Dendoncker goal inflicted a heavy blow to Aston Villa's chances of survival as Wolves moved within two points of the top four with six games to go.

In a game of very few chances, it was the Belgian who proved his worth when Espirito Santo's side needed him the most, powering a low-driven strike past Orjan Nyland from the edge of the box.

Another defeat for Villa saw them remain in 19th as their desperate efforts to beat the drop continued to evade them until their late escape. Three points for Wolves, meanwhile moved them within just two points of fourth-placed Chelsea.

Wolves 2-1 Aston Villa (November 10, 2019)

Ruben Neves' stunning strike wrapped up a big win for Wolves
Ruben Neves' stunning strike wrapped up a big win for Wolves

In a one-sided affair, Wolves controlled a comfortable home victory against Dean Smith's side thanks to goals from Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez as they moved into the top half of the Premier League table.

Despite creating numerous chances in the first half, the hosts were made to wait until the stroke of half time to find an opener - an innovative free-kick routine from Joao Moutinho allowed Ruben Neves to strike a trademark curled screamer home from 18 yards.

A right-footed effort from Raul Jimenez put the hosts two goals to the good five minutes from time, as an injury time Villa consolation goal through Trezeguet proved to be too little too late for Dean Smith's side.

An important victory for Wolves saw them beat their local rivals in the top-flight for the first time since 1978.

Head-to-head in the Premier League

Played: 11

Aston Villa wins: 5

Draws: 3

Wolves wins: 3

Aston Villa goals: 16

Wolves goals: 12

Can Wolves replicate last season's top-half finish?

Since their return to the top-flight in 2018 after dominating the Championship, Nuno's side sensationally secured qualification for European football at the first time of asking, with Wolves emulating back-to-back 7th placed finishes in the previous two seasons.

Although chances of a top-half finish are still an achievable target for the Molineux outfit this season, key injuries to talisman Raul Jimenez and Daniel Podence to name but a few have hindered the sides potency in front of goal, triggering large spells of erratic form.

They currently sit in 12th in the table, with just nine wins and 29 goals scored, but it isn't all doom and gloom for the Black Country side who - amidst a gradual steadying of the ship as of late - go into this fixture with a reinvigorated confidence having picked up 11 points from a possible 18 in their last six Premier League games.

Paddy Power are offering odds of 11/2 for Wolves to secure a top-half finish.

Wolves have only lost once in their last six Premier League games
Wolves have only lost once in their last six Premier League games

Scoreline prediction: Aston Villa 2-1 Wolves

Despite a disappointing away defeat at the hands of bottom-placed strugglers Sheffield United, Dean Smith's side will go into the fixture with very little hindered confidence after recent convincing victories against Leeds, Arsenal and Southampton, as they continue in their late push for a Europa League place.

The bookmakers replicate this thought, pricing Dean Smith's side as the favourites for the fixture - with Paddy Power offering 13/10 and Ladbrokes pricing their victory at 7/5.

Irrespective of Wolves' poor form at the start of the season, a change in fortunes is beginning to emerge at the Molineux, who - in the same vein as their opponents today - have recently bettered the Gunners, Saints and Whites, I wouldn't discount them to cause the hosts some problems at Villa Park later today.

Despite the absence of captain Jack Grealish, Villa's creativity and goalscoring capabilities haven't worryingly fluctuated in recent games, upturns in form for Anwar El Ghazi, Ollie Watkins and Bertrand Traore should provide enough cutting edge to see out a hard-fought 2-1 victory.

Goalscorer bets

Following his early winner against Leeds last weekend, Anwar El Ghazi took his Premier tally to six goals in 16 Premier League games, already making this top-flight campaign his most successful one on the goalscoring front.

He is 11/2 to open the scoring today with Betfair.

Despite a number of encouraging performances, Wolves youngster Fabio Silva has only registered two Premier League goals in 21 appearances for the club, if the Molineux outfit are to turn their fortunes around, they will need their record signing to start finding the net.

Silva is 14/5 to score anytime on Sky Bet.

After scoring his first Premier League against Manchester City with his first career shot on target in the competition, Conor Coady will hope to find the net more often for Wolves from set-pieces.

Paddy Power are offering 30/1 odds on the Wolves captain to find the net for the second time in a week, and it may well be a decent longshot pick!

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