There was little time for Smith and co to bask in the jubilation of beating Manchester United on their own turf last month, as Aston Villa were brought crashing back down to earth with a 2-1 defeat to an out-of-sorts Tottenham Hotspur on October 3.
Ollie Watkins would equalise in the second half after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg had opened the scoring with 27 minutes played, but Matt Targett’s own goal quickly propelled Spurs back into the ascendancy as Villa’s topsy-turvy start to the new campaign continued.
With that loss halting Villa’s momentum following previous wins over Everton and Man United, Smith’s side find themselves smack-bang in the middle of the table in 10th place, but only ahead of Arsenal on goal difference.
On a positive note for the hosts, all three of their league defeats this season have come away from home, with Smith’s side taking seven points from their first three fixtures at Villa Park this term and notching up six goals in that hot streak.
Villa have also shipped just one goal in front of their own fans this season so far and will hope to see the defeat to Tottenham prove to be just a minor blip in their quest for Europe, but their upcoming opponents are starting to find their feet under Bruno Lage.
Filling Nuno Espirito Santo’s boots at Molineux was going to be a tough ask for whoever took the reins, but after a shaky start to life in the West Midlands, Lage appears to be working his magic to good effect given his side’s recent run of results.
After a heart-warming goal for Raul Jimenez saw Wolves overcome Southampton 1-0 last month, the Molineux outfit made it back-to-back wins with a 2-1 success over Newcastle United, as Jimenez turned provider for a pair of Hwang Hee-chan strikes on home soil.
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With the RB Leipzig loanee leading the charge alongside reinvigorated talisman Jimenez, Wolves have won three of their last four Premier League games to rise to 12th in the rankings and will temporarily leapfrog their upcoming opponents into the top half with all three points here.
Arsenal, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur are not in action on Saturday, meaning that Wolves could find themselves as high as eighth by the close of play on Saturday with a win, and they head to Villa Park having kept two clean sheets in their last two Premier League triumphs away from home.
Wolves did the double over Villa in the 2019-20 season but failed to score in either of their fixtures with Smith’s side last term, losing 1-0 at Molineux before being held to a goalless stalemate at Villa Park back in March.