Aston Villa host Brentford in the third round of Premier League fixtures this weekend.
Both sides will be looking to pick up points with them both gaining a win in the opening two games.
Saturday afternoon will see the Dean Smith come up against his former colleague and team as Brentford look to build upon their 4 points gained following a win at home to Arsenal and a draw last week at Crystal Palace.
The fixture became a regular tie during Aston Villa’s time in the Championship and the Villans found it notoriously tough to get the better of the Bees.
With Brentford investing well following the loss of numerous key players such as Villa’s own Ollie Watkins, Ezri Konsa and the likes of West Ham United taking Said Benrahma, they deservedly managed to gain promotion last season and have made a bright start to life in the Premier League.
Thomas Frank was quick to add players to his squad during the summer with several additions to add quality and depth.
Kristoffer Ajer came in from Celtic to bolster the defensive ranks and Frank Onyeka and Yoane Wissa were brought in to give midfield options.
For Aston Villa, it presents itself as a fixture in which they will look to win being at home and as a follow up to their 2-0 win against Newcastle United.
Squad selection will be a hard one to call with a lot of social media noise around some potentially key absences off the back of Dean Smith’s pre match press conference.
It could provide an opportunity for some of Villa’s younger players to get their opportunity to start or off the bench.
Aston Villa Team News
Dean Smith stated that he was “Hopeful” when asked about Ollie Watkins returning from a knee injury but there are still many doubts as to whether he will be ready to start until after the international break. Leon Bailey and Bertrand Traore (both hamstring) have had a frustrating start to the season, Morgan Sanson (knee) has still not yet played competitively since last season and Trezeguet (ACL) remains a long term injury with Keinan Davis also still sidelined.
There are some indications that other players may be missing with COVID being banded around however Smith did not elude to these absences.
Possible starting line up:
Martinez, Young, Mings, Konsa, Cash, Luiz, McGinn, J Ramsey, Buendia, El Ghazi, Ings
(If rumoured absences are true)
Martinez, Young, Tuanzebe, Konsa, Cash, Luiz, Chukwuemeka, Buendia, El Ghazi, Philogene-Bidace, Ings
Brentford Team News
Thomas Frank has very few concerns regarding his Brentford outfit as Ethan Pinnock appears to have recovered from his injury scare in the midweek Carabao Cup victory over Forest Green.
Mads Sorensen will likely be the only absentee following a knee problem which sae him come off in the same game.
Possible starting line up:
Raya, Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock, Canos, Norgaard, Onyeka, Janelt, Henry, Toney, Mbuemo
One to watch:
Yet to fire in the Premier League, Ivan Toney will be looking to get off the mark against against Aston Villa.
His primary strengths are his finishing and he is powerful player who is particularly effective in the air.
A hard working striker, he also looks to hold on to the ball and ranks highly with his ability to play through balls and key passes.
Last season in the Championship, Toney scored 33 goals from 60 shots on target (55% success) and was one of the most fouled players in all leagues as he drew 105 fouls across the season.
Toney completed 604 out of 935 passes with a completion rate of 65% and also provided 10 assists.
His discipline can sometimes be bought into question and this was evident with 10 yellows and 1 red card.
Head to Head record:
Aston Villa 6 wins, 5 draws, Brentford 3 wins
Aston Villa were initially unbeaten against Brentford from their first meeting in 1935 up until 1953 before the fixture saw a long absence due to each team’s league position.
From 2016 onwards Villa failed to beat Brentford in the Championship with all three home ties finishing as draws and all three away games ending with wins for Brentford.
Last five meetings:
13 Apr 2019 – Brentford 1-0 Aston Villa (Championship)
22 Aug 2018 – Aston Villa 2-2 Brentford (Championship)
26 Dec 2017 – Brentford 2-1 Aston Villa (Championship)
09 Sep 2017 – Aston Villa 0-0 Brentford (Championship)
31 Jan 2017 – Brentford 3-0 Aston Villa (Championship)
AVILLAFAN MATCH PREDICTION
I fully expect this to be a tight game and Aston Villa have scored twice or more in their last five Premier League fixtures.
This run was only bettered in the title winning season of 1980/81 when they managed to do this seven games in a row.
Villa Park is sold out once again and the fans will need to play their part to help drive Villa forwards to hopefully get the win.
I personally think this may end up being a draw and a lot will come down to the availability of the the squad once revealed at 2pm.
Aston Villa 1-1 Brentford
Tip of the day
Danny Ings has got off to a good start with 2 goals from his 2 attempts on goal, Ings to score anytime is available at around 13/8 with some places offering 5/1 on him to score first.