With the only Premier League action on Saturday taking place at an empty Villa Park, Midlands bragging rights will be up for grabs when the relegation scrappers Aston Villa host Wolves this weekend.
Picking up a 1-0 win at home against another bottom-three outfit in Bournemouth on Wednesday evening, the Oranges have really laid down a marker since returning from the enforced break and still find themselves in the top-four chase.
On the flip side, while Villa may have come from behind to grab a point away at St. James’ Park in midweek, the Premier League returners still find themselves sat in the drop zone and in the midst of a real crisis.
Yet to record a top-flight win since returning from the enforced break, this weekend’s hosts have now failed to pick up a single victory across any competition in their previous eight attempts.
In a battle between two rivals scrapping it out at opposite ends of the table, you might be interested to know that Wolves landed a 2-1 win when they welcomed Dean Smith’s side to Molineux earlier in the season. Another victory for Saturday’s guests can be found priced at 4/5 with William Hill.
Point not enough for Villa
While Dean Smith may have seen his side manage to come from behind and snatch a late point against Newcastle on the road, time is running out for Villa and they need to start collecting maximum points if they’re to extend their Premier League status for a second season.
Still likely to be feeling the effects after throwing away what could have been a crucial lead against Chelsea in dramatic fashion last weekend, the former Brentford boss has seen his side continue to struggle with their outings at Villa Park.
Along with holding the worst defensive record of any top-flight side, Saturday’s hosts have managed to win just one of their last five Premier League matchups on home soil, a run highlighted by a 6-1 drumming against Manchester City back in January.
In fact, with a 1-0 win against rock-bottom Norwich their only clean sheet at Villa Park since the end of November, the Claret and Blues have shipped at least a pair of goals at home against the likes of Southampton, Burnley and Bournemouth this season.
Also hit with a 2-1 defeat when they made the trip across the Midlands to Molineux back in November, Smith’s side can be found priced at 20/21 with Ladbrokes to once again concede over 1.5 goals this weekend.
Who can stop Jimenez?
Picking up what was a deserved 1-0 win against Bournemouth in midweek and marking their return from the enforced break with back-to-back wins, the mood in Wolves’ camp will be at a high.
Still dreaming of landing a top-four finish this season, Saturday’s guests find themselves in the midst of a six-match Premier League unbeaten run, collecting 15 points on their most recent purple patch.
Looking to do the double over their cross-town rivals this weekend, Nuno Espírito Santo also has one leading marksman enjoying yet another standout campaign at Molineux.
Bagging the winner against Bournemouth on Wednesday evening and also finding the net at the London Stadium in Wolves’ return to action, Raul Jimenez has four goals in his last five Premier League appearances.
Breaking records at Molineux this year and linked with the likes of Manchester United this summer, it should also be noted that the 29-year-old also found the net in Wolves’ 2-1 win against Villa earlier in the season.
Jimenez can be found priced at 11/10 with Paddy Power to extend his glittering tally this weekend.