Dean Smith prepares to take on his former Sky Bet Championship team as his Aston Villa squad welcome Brentford to Villa Park.
Villa could climb into the top five with victory, whereas Brentford could go top temporarily with a win combined with results elsewhere swinging in their favour.
Ollie Watkins could make his first start of the season for Villa and particularly against his former team -having joined from Brentford in September 2020, if deemed match fit after recovering from a minor knee injury.
Leon Bailey (hamstring) is a doubt but Bertrand Traore (hamstring), Trezeguet and Morgan Sanson (both knee) remain sidelined as Dean Smith prepares to revert back to his usual line-up, after having rotated his squad in their midweek Carabao Cup win at Barrow.
Brentford will have Ethan Pinnock available for selection despite the defender suffering two knocks to his ankle in consecutive matches, as Thomas Frank prepares to rotate his squad again after Tuesday’s comeback win over Forest Green in Carabao Cup.
Mads Sorensen (knee) is a doubt and could join Josh Dasilva (hip) and Mathias Jensen (foot) on the sidelines.
- This is Aston Villa’s first-ever Premier League meeting against Brentford.
- Aston Villa are winless in their last six meetings against Brentford (D3, L3).
- Brentford have failed to win in seven previous trips to Villa Park (D5, L2), with four of those five draws coming in league matches of which two of those matches finished 2-2.
- Villa’s Leon Bailey is the first Jamaican midfielder to provide an assist in the Premier League, although Brentford’s Ethan Pinnock was the first Jamaican outfield player to provide a Premier League assist.
- Brentford’s Bryan Mbeumo is the first Premier League player to have hit the woodwork more than once this season, having found the frame twice.
With this match seeing Dean Smith coming up against his former team in the top-flight for the first time, this promises to be an intriguing tie because both teams have come a long way from when he departed the Bees for Villa in October 2018.
Focusing on Villa first, they overcame a robust defensive start against Newcastle last weekend to snatch a fairly comfortable victory after punishing various mistakes, despite often being made to work hard themselves by the Magpies so will be ready for a hard-pressing Brentford team.
Brentford meanwhile will be hoping to improve after finding themselves held at Crystal Palace last weekend despite dominating, yet can take heart from Tuesday’s spirited comeback because they bided their time before ruthlessly striking once Forest Green’s players were fatigued.
Either way, both teams will have plenty of fresh players available so I am expecting a good contest and the first goal will be key, yet my instinct is saying a score draw.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Brentford
Result: Aston Villa 1-1 Brentford