Aston Villa will be desperate to bounce back from the dejection of their miraculous defeat at Leicester City as they play host to West Bromwich Albion in the second of three consecutive Midlands derbies for Tim Sherwood’s side.
The former Tottenham boss could not contain his disappointment and disbelief as his side contrived to throw away a two-goal lead to come away from the King Power Stadium with nothing on Sunday. It had been going so well, with the dynamism of attacking midfield trio Carles Gil, Jack Grealish and Scott Sinclair reaping many rewards and representing the most crucial factor in their dominance, reflected by two wonderfully taken goals.
Getting the second at a time when the hosts were on top should have put the game beyond doubt, but naivety kicked in and Sherwood’s new-look team fell apart amid a cauldron of atmosphere. It will have been a tough week on the training ground as the players look to respond to such a bitter setback, and the performance here will go a long way to determining how much character the squad has. There was plenty of promise on show at Leicester, but it counted for so little.
The Baggies meanwhile will be sensing an opportunity to deepen their wounds, and come into this having kept their third clean sheet in five Premier League outings so far, a statistic that proves they still have the resilience that characterised their march to comfortable last season; even without Joleon Lescott, who is likely to line up here against the club he left just weeks ago. However, a couple more goals would be welcome, as Saido Berahino and summer signing Rickie Lambert are among the many players not yet off the mark.
Berahino has, albeit, missed two games due to the distraction caused by Tottenham’s transfer pursuit, but he made his return to action in the goalless draw with Southampton on Saturday from the bench to a fairly mixed reaction from supporters. Even after he came on, his side created few chances in a largely forgettable encounter, but England U-21 international’s trickery up against Lescott and Micah Richards will cause Villa problems.
Sherwood has several injury concerns to contend with, as Gil, Adam Traore and Idrissa Gueye are all facing a race against time to be fit.
West Brom are likely to recall Berahino to the starting line-up, and have defender Jonathan Evans available despite having suffered a dead leg.
Last Meeting: A shocking display of mishandling from West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster resulted in the dramatic late penalty that earned Tim Sherwood his first league victory as Villa boss, converted by Christian Benteke. The hosts had gone ahead in the first half through Gabriel Agbonlahor’s well taken goal, which was cancelled out midway through the second half by Saido Berahino’s close range effort.
Played for both – Curtis Davies: The London-born defender moved to West Brom for £3m on transfer deadline day in 2005, and immediately impressed in the Premier League in a struggling side that battled in vain to avoid relegation, scoring two goals in 33 appearances. After a season in the Championship he moved to Villa, initially on loan. He contributed to three sixth-placed finishes and a run to the 2010 League Cup final, making 47 league outings and scoring three goals.