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Villama Preview: Wolverhampton v Aston Villa

Fresh off the thrill of beating Spurs 2-0, Aston Villa take on a struggling Wolves side. Will injury concerns in the midfield derail what many consider a looming blowout?

With everything coming up roses for the Villa lately, Wolves feels like a sure win, but may be a little trickier than one would expect. Per Matt Maher of the Express & Star, John McGinn, Douglas Luiz, and Leander Dendoncker are all doubtful for the match, while a more optimistic WhoScored lists only McGinn and Luiz as such, with Jacob Ramsey and Diego Carlos also unavailable. In more positive news, we should absolutely expect Emi Martinez to be back in goal.

Quickly covering Wolves, they are, in a word, bad. They sit nineteenth in the table to Villa’s twelfth and look destined for relegation at this point in the season. Players to look out for include, but shouldn’t be limited to defensive midfielder Ruben Neves (who would look good in claret and blue this summer), attacking midfielder, Joao Moutinho, and defender, Nathan Collins.

For Villa this week, the aformentioned concern is a shuffle given injury concerns. Assuming it’s only McGinn and Luiz sitting, things aren’t too bad. The backline should consist of Lucas Digne at left-back, a Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konza partnership at center-back, and either Ashley Young or Matty Cash at right-back. I’m leaning towards Cash. In holding midfield, we can expect either a Boubacar Kamara and Leander Dendoncker partnership, or one with Kamara and Calum Chambers if Dendoncker is sitting. However, if Douglas Luiz is available to play you should absolutely expect a Luiz and Kamara duo. Further up the pitch, we should see a duo of Emi Buendia and whomever isn’t playing right-back between Ashley Young and Matty Cash. I’d lean towards Young. You could also see a Buendia and Philippe Coutinho partnership, but as well as he’s playing I don’t think you can sit Ashley Young, and Matty Cash should be fit to play at right-back. Ollie Watkins and Leon Bailey should continue their partnership up top and Emi Martinez will grace the net.

: Even with McGinn and Luiz listed as doubtful, this has the potential to be a very fun watch for the Villa faithful. I’m feeling a little nostalgic and thinking back to the 4-1 match from 2018, the one where Birkir Bjarnason delivers the final blow, and I’d like to go with that. It’s gaudy, and I’d otherwise go with a 2-0 or 3-1, but I like it. 4-1 to the Villa.

Aston Villa Training Session
With injury concerns only growing in the Villa camp, could Philippe Coutinho play a key part and rediscover some of his old magic against Wolves?
Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images