Roberto Di Matteo was a happy man when he recorded his first competitive win as a manager of Villa at the weekend, with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Rotherham United. It was also Aston Villa’s first league win in more than six months.
Next on the agenda is Huddersfield Town’s visit to Villa Park tonight. Nicknamed ‘the Terriers’, Huddersfield Town can boast a 100% winning record in the Championship so far this season. After winning both their games, the Terriers currently sit third in the table.
Venue: Villa Park, Birmingham
Date: Tuesday 16th August 2016
After beating Brentford on the opening day of the season, the Terriers then went on to beat Newcastle United in a very impressive counter-attacking display. The result caused a bit of a stir since Newcastle United had been billed as a team that many thought would run away with the league this season. Tonight’s game may prove to be one of the toughest fixtures for Aston Villa this season, as the visitors will cause problems to any defence with their astute attack.
Manager Roberto Di Matteo has a full squad of players to choose from. Nathan Baker missed the last game due to injury but new boy James Chester was able to slot in to central defence and had a very good début. It is likely that he will start again, alongside influential captain Tommy Elphick.
Gabby Agbonlahor and Joleon Lescott are still banished from first team duties so they will play no part in today’s game.
Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner could recall midfielder Dean Whitehead to the starting line up tonight, as the former Stoke City and Middlesbrough player missed the start of the season due to a suspension he picked up last season.
Nakhi Wells, a player who was reportedly a target for Aston Villa this summer, is no stranger to the Villa fans. The former Bradford City striker actually scored against Aston Villa in the infamous League Cup tie a few years ago, during the Paul Lambert era.
The Bermuda-born striker is a proven goalscorer at this level. His off the ball movement causes most defenders problems, as he likes to drift into wide positions to create more space for his team-mates, as well as pulling defenders away from their initial positions. For Huddersfield Town, he boasts a record of a goal every three games.
Another player the Villans will have to be wary of is Aaron Mooy. The Australian midfielder is highly rated by the Huddersfield Town fans. Described as a playmaker, he loves to dictate the run of play in midfield and to keep the ball moving. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top in the battle between Aaron Mooy and Ashley Westwood, who both play a similar role.
Roberto Di Matteo will be telling his players to forget about the result on Saturday and to go out tonight and get another win to build momentum and confidence.
The Terriers won’t be there to make up the numbers; I’m expecting them to become a force this season in the Championship. This won’t be an easy game at all so the Villa boys will have to be on top of their game to stop the Terriers from scoring. Although they have won two on the trot, they were also eliminated from the League Cup last week by lower league opposition, just as the Villans were.
The Terriers are yet to keep a clean sheet this season so I do fancy the Villans to score against them tonight. However, I also think that, if we’re not careful, the Terriers will pounce on any mistake made in defence and will capitalise. I’m expecting a cagey first half, with a bit more of an open game in the second half as the teams look to find the winning goals.