Villa go in search of a first win since the opening day of the season when they welcome neighbours West Brom on Saturday in what is the 166th meeting between these two West Midlands rivals.
Tim Sherwood said last weekend that he had “never felt so bad” after his side threw away a 2-0 lead at Leicester, and will be hoping for a response in the local derby at Villa Park.
Carles Gil scored at the King Power Stadium last week but is a slight doubt for this weekend after picking up a knock; Idrissa Gueye and Adama Traore are also doubtful for the hosts, whilst Jores Okore is around a month away from a return. Joleon Lescott should line up at centre-half against the team he left on deadline day.
Since their opening day success at Bournemouth, Villa have picked up just one point from four games. Unusually for Villa in recent seasons, the goals are not a problem – they have scored four times in the last two – but defensively they are struggling. Two home wins in league and cup over West Brom kick-started their survival last season; Sherwood could do with a similar outcome this weekend to revitalise this campaign.
The Baggies sit just one point and one place above Villa, and like their opponents have won just once in five games so far. However, they are unbeaten away from home so far and have not yet conceded a goal on the road; Tony Pulis has made his side a tough nut to crack.
Saido Berahino came off the bench to a mixed reception in the goalless draw against Southampton last weekend, and the want-away striker could start to add firepower to a West Brom frontline that has scored just twice so far this season, and gone goalless in four of their five games.
Jonny Evans picked up a knock last weekend and is doubtful for Saturday, whilst goalkeeper Ben Foster remains out with a knee injury.
The Baggies haven’t won at Villa Park since a 2-1 win in 2011 – a success on Saturday would turn their solid if unspectacular start into a very decent one indeed.
League Position: Aston Villa – 16th, 4pts; West Brom – 15th, 5pts
Last Meeting: Aston Villa 2-0 West Brom (March 7, 2015)
Form: Aston Villa – WLLDL; West Brom – LDLWD
Key Men: Aston Villa – Jack Grealish; West Brom – Salomon Rondon
Shoot Says: Aston Villa 1-0 West Brom