Fresh from an impressive and thoroughly deserved victory over Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa return to the West Midlands to tackle local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in Wednesday’s Premier League derby.
Unai Emery’s side posted a 2-0 victory over the Lilywhites in their most recent match, while the visitors were undone in a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United.
Villa’s win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium came at quite a cost, as midfield duo McGinn and Luiz both had to be withdrawn in the second half after sustaining thigh and ankle injuries respectively.
Emery is unsure of the extent of the pair’s problems but is hopeful that they have avoided anything serious, particularly with Jacob Ramsey still sidelined with a thigh problem alongside long-term Achilles victim Diego Carlos. To make midfield matters worse, ex-Wolves man Leander Dendoncker is also an injury doubt.
Calum Chambers, Morgan Sanson or Philippe Coutinho could be brought in for rare starts if Luiz and McGinn are both ruled out, while Emiliano Martinez should now come back in for Robin Olsen in goal, despite the Swede’s competent performance against Tottenham.
As for the visitors, the attacking trio of Sasa Kalajdzic, Pedro Neto and Chiquinho will remain in the treatment room for the foreseeable future, but Lopetegui has no fresh concerns to report from the loss to Man United.
The lively Adama Traore added a new dimension to the Wolves attack after being brought on at half time in Saturday’s game, and the Spaniard can feel confident of displacing Hwang Hee-chan here.
Traore replaced Diego Costa at half time in a tactical move over the weekend, and the latter – who has gone eight Premier League games without netting for Wolves – could see his spot under threat from fellow scoreless striker Raul Jimenez or Matheus Cunha, whose loan from Atletico Madrid has now been completed.
It would not be a complete shock to see Cunha drafted into the first XI immediately, but Lopetegui may introduce the Brazilian as a substitute as he adapts to the rigours of English football.
Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Young, Konsa, Mings, Digne; McGinn, Kamara, Chambers; Buendia, Watkins, Bailey
Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Sa; Semedo, Kilman, Collins, Bueno; Nunes, Neves, Moutinho; Traore, Jimenez, Podence
We say: Aston Villa 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers