Aston Villa are back in Premier League action once again as they welcome Burnley to the Midlands this evening.
Dean Smith’s side will be looking to build on not just their 1-0 victory over arch-rivals Wolves at the weekend but their impressive turnaround in the English top-flight too.
They’ve gone from narrowly avoiding relegation to top-half underdogs, in which they caused the shock of the season when defeating defending champions Liverpool 7-2.
Villa have even picked up wins against Leicester City and Arsenal too.
The Clarets, on the other hand, are languishing at the wrong end of the table and they’ll be fighting for their lives tonight, so Smith will need to ensure his side is well-equipped for this one.
After coming off the bench to score the match-winning penalty at Molineux, Anwar El Ghazi is surely in line for a start, meaning Bertrand Traore faces the axe – and indeed he should be taken out of the starting XI.
The 25-year-old summer signing was particularly lightweight and poor against Wolves – per SofaScore, Traore won just 62.5% of his duels, lost possession 17 times, was dribbled past twice, and managed just one accurate cross from five attempts.
BirminghamLive were particularly scathing, grading his performance a four out of ten. They said:
“Started poorly and was loose in possession and was Villa’s worse player in the opening 45 as he struggled to settle down on just his second Premier League start since his £17 million switch.
“Came in for Trezeguet today but lacked quality on the ball. Endured a torrid time of it at Molineux and looks a real stranger. He’ll be hoping for much better days, that’s for sure. Didn’t do enough to start against Burnley on Thursday but we’ll wait and see on that. Taken off with 15 to go.”
It’s no wonder the Blues let him go in 2017.
AND in other news, Aston Villa ace was Dean Smith’s unsung hero against Wolves…