Aston Villa are back in action this evening with a Premier League clash against Leeds United at Elland Road.
Now with two consecutive victories under their belt in their previous league outings against Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton, scoring six goals and conceding none in the process, Steven Gerrard’s side will be hungry to add another three points to their tally for the campaign.
In his pre-match press conference, the 41-year-old revealed that in terms of which players will be available for selection for tonight’s game, defenders Lucas Digne and Ezri Konsa will be available again after missing the match against Southampton, as well as Carney Chukwuemeka.
With that in mind, here’s our prediction for Villa’s starting XI to take on Jesse Marsch’s side.
Having started all but one of Villa’s league games so far this season, it’d be a surprise to see anyone other than Emi Martinez start in goal, who will be hoping to keep a third consecutive clean sheet.
In a back four, we think both Digne and Konsa will come back into the side alongside Tyrone Mings and Matty Cash with Ashley Young and Calum Chambers dropping out after starting in the win over Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side at Villa Park.
Regarding the 27-year-old former Arsenal man, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville labelled his display against Newcastle United as “clumsy,” which could make it an easier choice for the Villa manager to make in terms of putting Konsa back in.
Moving on to the midfield, given how prominent he’s been for Villa so far this season, it seems likely that John McGinn will keep his place in the team to try and keep the home side from attacking as much as possible given how he’s racked up a higher average of tackles per game (2.9) than any other player in Gerrard’s squad in this campaign.
Next to the Scotland international, we think the former Rangers boss will stick with Douglas Luiz after he managed to get his name on the scoresheet last time out against the Saints.
Then, next to those two, we predict that Gerrard will make a change by bringing Morgan Sanson in for Jacob Ramsey after the Englishman’s uneventful display in his previous appearance over the weekend, which would see the Frenchman make his third league start of the 2021/22 season.
Labelled as a “great technician” by Dean Smith in the past, the £59k-per-week midfielder could use this match as great opportunity to show what he’s capable of in an attacking sense given Leeds’ knack of conceding goals.
Finally, it would make sense for the Villa boss to stick with the same three players that scored in the last game to see if they can find the back of the net once again this time around against a side that have conceded more league goals than any other team in this campaign.
This means that Philippe Coutinho will line up once again behind the strike duo of Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings.