Aston Villa face Leeds United in the Premier League this afternoon and the fixture represents a chance for Steven Gerrard’s men to build some momentum before the league halts due to the World Cup in six weeks’ time.
It hasn’t been all plain sailing for the 42-year-old manager this season, with the win against Southampton in their last outing only Villa’s second league victory of the season – as pressure slowly begins to build on the manager.
Gerrard could make some changes ahead of the tie, however, with a few players putting in disappointing performances in the win against Southampton, especially Leon Bailey.
Despite a solid 1-0 victory over the Saints, Villa had two weak links which could have potentially cost them all three points.
It was the Jamaican winger’s performance that was the most frustrating, however, especially since he had secured the side a 1-1 draw against champions Manchester City in their previous match, scoring the equaliser.
Bailey had just 44 touches against the Saints, was successful with just one dribble attempt and completed just eight successful passes during his 67-minute spell on the pitch.
It truly was a very poor performance for the £65k-per-week winger, who was described as a “big talent” by Gerrard and the 42-year-old can’t afford a similar showing from the forward against Leeds today.
This may mean a change in formation for Villa. Against Southampton, Gerrard lined his men up in a 4-3-3 formation, but if Bailey is dropped, he could revert to a 4-3-1-2, with Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings leading the line, with just Coutinho playing directly behind them and no out-and-out wingers.
Results are all that matter now for the Englishman, especially if he wants to remain in a job and it could mean a drop to the bench for the 25-year-old winger.
Leeds have been in decent form this campaign, but a 5-2 defeat to Brentford in their last match proves they are vulnerable at the back, and this is something Villa will be aiming to exploit.