After a bright start to the season from Aston Villa, who defeated Arsenal 3-1 at The Emirates, they have since failed to capitalise on it by suffering three straight defeats. Norwich have also only managed one win in their last four games, which came against Southampton after Nathan Redmond scored his first goal for the club. Both teams will be eager to take the three points to ease the pressure on themselves after difficult starts. Aston Vila suffered a blow in their last match against Newcastle, as new signing James Okore injured himself. The recent news from the club suggests that this will be a long term injury, which will see him out for a large majority of the season.
Norwich bolstered their attack throughout the transfer window by bringing in both van Wolfswinkel and Hooper on permanent deals with Elmander coming in on a loan from Turkish side Galatasaray. The club captain last season, Grant Holt, has since departed the club for Wigan which sees Norwich have a new look attack. The new attacking players will be extremely welcome for Chris Houghton, whose side only managed to score 41 goals last season, whereas Aston Villa managed to score 69 times last season.
Villa won 2-1 at Carrow Road last year, with a late strike from Gabriel Agbonlahor separating the two sides. Recent matches between them have intensified due to the Villa manager leaving Norwich to join the Midlands club.
Nathan Redmond has started extremely brightly since his move from Birmingham City. He’s off the mark already this season, after scoring a match winning goal against Southampton, and is also a direct player who can create for others.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel is another player who has settled in already for Norwich City. He earned his a team point with a fantastic header against Everton. If the game is open, like the previous ones, then I expect chances to come van Wolfswinkel’s way.
Fabien Delph has had an impressive start to the campaign, as he has taken real responsibility in the Aston Villa midfield by making driving runs and gaining real ground, which eases pressure on the defence. This could be the game when he gets his first Villa goal.
Christian Benteke has started this season as he ended last, full of confidence and looking clinical in front of goal. Villa’s play and style is directed towards Benteke which definitely helps his game.
Elliot Bennett, who suffered a knee injury, is expected to still be out for this game after Houghton confirmed the player would be side lined for a few months. Other than Bennett, the squad are all fit to join the match day squad.
Aston Villa’s new central defender James Okore suffered a major knee injury, that will see him out for the majority of the season. Winger Charles N’Zogbia is still suffering from an achilles injury, which will prevent him from taking part in this game.
Christian Benteke has scored 4 league goals in 4 games this season which is make his joint top scorer but his stand out statistics are that in the top ten goal scorers he has the best shooting accuracy (78%) and the best chance conversion too (44%) making him the most dangerous man on the Carrow Road pitch on Saturday afternoon.
Grant Holt was Norwich’s leading scorer last season with just 8 goals. Ricky van Wolfswinkel managed more than double that, in his last league campaign, scoring 22 goals however he has only scored one goal in the Premier League this season.
Both teams are likely to really go for it as their manager will ideally want their teams to begin to find some form as the transfer window has closed and players are now up to full fitness. I expect that both teams will score this weekend – and the final result will be 2-2. Christian Benteke could be the difference for Villa as everything goes through him, he is full of confidence at the minute, so I’d expect him to be sharp in front of the goal.