There was a lot of positives to take from Dean Smith’s first match in charge. It could have so easily finished 3 or 4 nil had we taken our chances. There are still clear weaknesses also and Swansea could have also taken all three points. Smith’s next obstacle comes in the form of Norwich City at Carrow Road.
It isn’t the ideal place to go to following our recent form. Norwich have won each of their last three games against us at Carrow Road. No doubt, our new manager would have had his team doing their homework as looks to help us climb the Championship table.
Norwich have enjoyed a pretty impressive start to the campaign and find themselves in a playoff position. They have won 6 and draw 3 from their opening 13 fixtures.
Canaries boss, Daniel Farke has watched on as his side has won 9 from their last 10 games in all competitions. That includes an impressive win at home to the top of the table Middlesbrough. Despite this, they do tend to be better on the road. 3 of their 4 defeats have come at Carrow Road. It will give a glimmer of hope to Smith’s men who have only won 1 in 6 on their travels this season.
Norwich will look to dominate the game as they currently average the fourth most possession in the league with 54.2% per game. With 13.8 shots per game, they average the third most in the division. This won’t be an easy game.
ONE TO WATCH
If fit enough to play, my one to watch is Onel Hernandez. The Cuban born German winger signed for the Canaries back in January. He seems to be really settled now having been involved in 5 goals (scored 2, assisted 3) in 8 appearances this term.
He is strong in dribbling, key passes and through balls. All that you would expect from a decent winger these days. His defensive contribution will leave gaps however and this is an area we must try to exploit.
Aston Villa will be without Scotland international, John McGinn. The hard-working midfielder picked up his fifth booking of the campaign at the weekend and will sit out a one-match suspension.
Keinan Davis has returned to training to give Smith a boost although he has several options up top at the moment. Smith will also continue to monitor Micah Richards fitness levels.
Farke will assess Hernandez who played his first game on Saturday following a hernia injury. Grant Hanley (quad), Kenny McLean (ankle), Carlton Morris and Matt Jarvis (both knee) are all unavailable.
HEAD TO HEAD
Aston Villa edge the head to head battles with 32 wins to Norwich’s 20, with 16 draws.
In recent times, the home team tends to win. Norwich have won each of their last three games against Villa at Carrow Road and likewise Villa at Villa Park.
The first ever fixture between the two took place way back in 1936 at Villa Park. Villa came out winners with a 3-0 win in the old Division Two.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Predicted XI: Nyland; Hutton, Tuanzebe, Chester, Taylor; Hourihane, Bjarnason; Adomah, Grealish, Elmohamady; Abraham.
Kick Off: 19.45
TV: Sky Sports
Tickets: Still available.
Odds: Norwich 7/5 Draw 23/10 Aston Villa 2/1 (William Hill)