Aston Villa bounced back from their 3-1 loss against Southampton by beating Norwich City 1-0 on Boxing Day, taking themselves within a point of getting out of the relegation zone.
They will now be looking to continue that momentum with a victory against another of their drop zone occupants Watford.
This will likely be a challenge though, with the Hornets having earned a win and draw from their last two games, against Manchester United and Sheffield United.
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Dean Smith will need to find a balance between making changes to prevent injuries and ensuring that Aston Villa come out on top, in what is a very important game for both clubs.
With that in mind, this is our prediction for Villa’s team to face Watford, which includes three changes from the win against Norwich.
Tom Heaton naturally keeps his place between the sticks for Villa, following another impressive performance against the Canaries.
Frederic Guilbert was left out against Norwich, but with Ahmed Elmohamady being 32 years old, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Frenchman back in the team, considering the quick turnaround of games.
Kortney Hause and Ezri Konsa were solid against Norwich, helping to end a run of five games without a clean sheet, so Smith may be wary of making changes at the heart of his defence. Matt Targett also remains at left-back.
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Jack Grealish and Douglas Luiz maintain their sports in the midfield following impressive performances, in which they got an assist and produced a goal-line clearance respectively.
Conor Hourihane is the man who scored the goal, so it would seem pretty harsh for the Republic of Ireland international to be left out after appearing from the bench on Boxing Day. That means Marvelous Nakamba drops out.
Anwar El Ghazi and Wesley both keep their place in the team after the Norwich win, though the first of those is moved across the pitch to the left-wing.
That is to facilitate Jota, who comes in for Trezeguet. The Spaniard has not started any of Villa’s last 14 league games, making just two substitute appearances in that time, but with the buildup of fixtures, he may get his chance in the team.