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Preview: Villa look to avenge September loss in derby clash

Last time these two met, Villa continued its spiral launched by the 3-2 loss at Leicester City… after a 1-1 draw with the Foxes, can Villa build with a win over West Bromwich Albion?

Dan Mullan/Getty Images

We’re unbeaten in four… wait, what?

Yes! Aston Villa have played four consecutive matches and not lost. Running it to five down the street at The Hawthorns would be fantastic, wouldn’t it?

What to know about Aston Villa

Pretty much nobody made a great case for breaking into the starting XI on Tuesday against Wycombe, so expect Rémi Garde to trot out mostly the same lineup when Villa take the pitch at West Brom tomorrow afternoon. Jordan Ayew has been good recently, but on the whole, the team performance in the second half was the type of performance everyone has been searching for out of this club all season long.

It was a performance built from passion and a desire to control the game, to push to get the equalizer against the team currently placed second in the table.

If Villa play like they did in the second half last Saturday every week, they’re still probably not getting out of this rut — but we won’t slate the team too much when the inevitable comes. That’s what we’ve been looking for: A performance full of fight and passion, but also one that showed Villa are, you know, a Premier League side.

Rudy Gestede showed himself well coming from the bench, bagging the equalizer. Might he get in ahead of Libor Kozák? We’ll see.

What to know about West Brom

Make sure you head to newsstands to pick up, "How to Ruin the Value of your Star Young Striker," authored by WBA chairman Jeremy Peace.

Seriously, the club refuse a £23 million offer from a club in Europe over the summer and you expect your youngster to be… happy about coming back to work?

Have fun getting £5 million when he walks at the end of his contract, Jeremy.

Despite Berahino being a relative non-factor so far this season — with just three goals to his name, though one of those was against Villa in September — WBA are flying high with 27 points. Tony Pulis devil magic is working great at The Hawthorns this year.

Seriously. As far as advanced metrics are concerned, Villa and WBA aren’t too different on the pitch this year. The Baggies have just ground out results, while Villa have done the opposite.


The odds

Does anyone actually read this section? Meh, I’ll spend a couple minutes finding them anyway.

Bovada: WBA 11/10, Villa 57/20, Draw 43/20
PaddyPower: WBA 11/10, Villa 14/5, Draw 11/5
SkyBet: WBA 21/20, Villa 3/1, Draw 21/10

The prediction

I’m feeling good. Villa are playing pretty well right now and have ground out a couple key results lately.

WBA 1, Villa 2.

Roll on, Villa.