Paul Merson has backed Aston Villa in his column for Sportskeeda to narrowly beat Wolves in the Midlands derby on Saturday, as the pundit predicts Dean Smith’s side will ‘explode’.

Wolves travel to Villa Park this weekend for head coach Bruno Lage’s first Premier League derby at the Molineux helm. The Portuguese has overseen a steady start since succeeding Nuno Espirito Santo in charge this summer.

Aston Villa, likewise, have ticked over during the opening months of the 2021/22 campaign to sit 10th in the table. Smith and Lage’s men have both won three of their seven games so far this season, with Villa ahead of their rivals only by a point having also drawn once.

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Merson believes there is a lot more to come from Aston Villa, who spent £93m on transfers this summer. Jack Grealish’s £100m move to Manchester City funded Smith’s rebuild, while Wolves spent £16.5m and recouped £4m, per Sky Sports.

“Oooh, good game!” Merson predicted. “Aston Villa, in my opinion, are waiting to explode. I always keep saying that when you play the likes of Brighton and Aston Villa in the Premier League and come away with three points, they are really good wins.

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“Wolves miss way too many chances for my liking, although Raul Jimenez seems to be back in form. The goal he scored against Southampton was absolutely mind-blowing. But this is a big derby game, and I’m going to go for a [2-1] Villa win.”

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Can Aston Villa ‘explode’ against Wolves, like Merson predicts?

Smith will hope Aston Villa ‘explode’ soon, like Merson predicts, and will no doubt like it to start against Wolves. The Birmingham-based outfit have only scored more than one goal in one of their last five Premier League fixtures.

The Villans started well with two goals against Watford – albeit in defeat – and Newcastle United. But have since scored six in five games, with half of those coming against Everton.

Wolves, meanwhile, will travel to Villa Park having only scored five goals altogether in the top-flight so far this term. Lage’s side have also only scored more than once in two of their fixtures, likewise coming against Watford and Newcastle.

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