Aston Villa travel to West Brom in what is the first of only two Midlands derbies this season. In the past, it has been Aston Villa who dominated this fixture, winning over 17 games up to 2011. But recently, the tides have turned, with West Brom getting the better results and finishing above Aston Villa in the Premier League. West Brom have improved a lot since September, and now they look to continue their climb up the table. Aston Villa have had a mixed start, with Villa beating quality teams such as Arsenal and Man. City but have failed to get points against the likes of West Ham and Hull.
Aston Villa are much better away, Lambert has set up the team to play on the counter and it has proven very affective when away. West Brom on the other hand have massively improved after the signings of Sessegnon and Amalfitano. Following the International Break, Aston Villa will welcome back many first team players.
Nickolas Anelka will likely feature in the midlands derby, the French forward was sidelined with a groin injury by manager Clarke is confident he’ll feature. Scott Sinclar is a doubt with a hamstring injury, whilst Chris Brunt, Gareth McAuley and Boaz Hyhill are set to feature despite withdrawing from their respective international teams.
Paul Lambert will see the return of many first team players. Agbonlahor and Weimann have returned to training and may feature in the game. Benteke had a knee problem while on international duty, he is currently a doubt. Fabian Delph and Antonio Luna are fit again. Joe Bennett is still out with a back injury.
West Brom are unbeaten in their last five Barclays Premier League games against Aston Villa (W2 D3).
Half (7) of the previous 14 Premier League matches between these two sides have ended in a draw. Indeed, all seven victories (five for Villa, two for West Brom) have all finished 2-1.
Christian Benteke has not scored in any of his last five Premier League appearances; his longest goal drought in the competition since joining Aston Villa.
Aston Villa have made fewer substitutions than any other team in the Premier League this season, using just 24 of the 33 possible after 11 games.
There have been 18 goals scored in the five Premier League matches on a Monday so far this season, an average of 3.6 per game.
West Brom 1-1 Aston Villa
I reckon this game will be a draw, which isn’t such a bad result as some people may thing. West Brom are now a very good team, they went on to beat United at Old Trafford! Villa are good away so you never know, they could snatch a win. Benteke will be vital against West Brom but so will our midfielders, Villa need to create in order to win.