Aston Villa welcomes Sheffield Wednesday to Villa Park today. It will be their second game at home in a week following a 2-0 win against Rotherham on Tuesday night. Steve Bruce will be hoping his side can build on that victory as they bid to kick-start there season.
It is quite amazing what a difference a win can make. Tuesday wasn’t as pretty as maybe some of us would have liked but in truth, we always looked comfortable. I stated in my preview against Rotherham that it was feeling like a chore watching Villa at times but I am quite looking forward to today.
A win for Villa could see them climb as high as third in the Championship. While a win for Wednesday could see them leapfrog Villa in the table and climb to 7th.
When Villa first got relegated to the Championship, Wednesday was known as one of the big boys of the league. Since then, they seem to have gone backwards and based on this season, appear a little unpredictable.
Manager Jos Luhukay was appointed in January 2017. He is the first Dutch and only second non-British manager at the club. During the summer they recruited Josh Onomah (Tottenham) and Michael Hector (Chelsea) on loan. Five players left the club including Jack Hunt who joined Bristol City for a reported £1.5million.
Wednesday have had a mixed start to the season that has seen them win three, draw two and lose three. 58% of their twelve goals have come from open play while 80% of their passes are short passes which would suggest they like to get the ball down and play.
ONE TO WATCH
Former Villa midfielder, Barry Bannan is my man to watch. Following an up and down time with Villa, he moved onto Crystal Palace in 2013. He made 22 appearances in two years with the South London club before moving on to Wednesday in 2015. The midfielder seems to have really settled with the Yorkshire club. Bannan has gone on to make 110 appearances and is now in his third season with the Owls.
Everything that Wednesday do seems to be built around the 28-year-old. He has a 78.6% pass success rate and averages just over 2 key passes per game. This season he has also contributed with two goals and one assist.
Scott Hogan and Keinan Davis are back in full training with the first team. Hogan has had 10 sessions while Davis has had 2. Bruce has stated that they look ready but has challenged them to replace Abraham and Kodjia in the first team.
Goalkeeper Andre Moreira missed the win over Rotherham with a knee injury and is rated 50/50 for the clash with Wednesday.
Wednesday will be without defender Jordan Thorniley. He picked up a calf injury in their midweek defeat to Nottingham Forest. It could open the door for on-loan Chelsea defender Michael Hector to step in.
HEAD TO HEAD
Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday have met 137 times in all competitions. Villa leads the head to head records with 67 wins compared to Wednesday’s 53.
The first-ever meeting took place in December 1892. Wednesday beat Villa in an eight-goal thriller, 5-3.
Wednesday have won three of the last five meetings. That includes a 2-1 victory at Villa Park last season.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Predicted XI: Nyland, Elmohammady, Chester, Jedinak, Hutton, McGinn, Hourihane, Grealish, El-Ghazi, Abraham, Kodjia.
Kick Off: 15.00
TV: AVTV (If you are based outside the UK)
Tickets sold: Estimated 34,000
Odds: Aston Villa 4/7 Draw 3/1 Sheffield Wednesday 9/2 (Skybet)