Aston Villa will be aiming to fight back in the league tonight away at Leicester City – this follows their 2-1 defeat to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final, and Dean Smith faces a dilemma in his team selection.
The Villans currently sit 19th in the table with 25 points, though they do have a game in hand. Villa failed to win a single game throughout February, but ironically their last victory came against the Foxes at the end of January at Villa Park.
Tanzanian striker Mbwana Samatta scored during the cup final and gave Villa hope during a commendable performance against the current champions of England. He will be looking to continue his goalscoring form since moving to England, with him currently being Villa’s first-choice striker.
So, how will Villa lineup against Leicester?
The back five will pick itself after an impressive display against Manchester City. Norwegian goalkeeper Ørjan Nyland made some impressive saves in the cup final (via Manchester City’s official YouTube channel) – Pepe Reina will most likely take to the bench after conceding twice against Southampton two weeks back.
Both Tyrone Mings and Björn Engels will be looking to continue the growth of their centre-back partnership. The Englishman has currently made the most clearances out of the Aston Villa squad with 125 – Engels follows second behind him with 81 [Premier League].
Villa’s fullbacks position are likely be occupied by Frederic Guilbert and Matt Targett – the French right-back has averaged 3 tackles and 2 interceptions per game so far this season [WhoScored]. Targett struggled last Sunday after an impressive performance from Phil Foden (earned an 8.0 match rating), but the left-back has proved to be important for Villa at the back, averaging 2.7 clearances per game [WhoScored].
Marvelous Nakamba currently averages 2.5 tackles per game and an 84% pass success rate for the Villans [WhoScored]. He will likely occupy the deeper role in Dean Smith’s midfield as he did in the final.
Slightly further you have Douglas Luiz and Connor Hourihane in the two central roles, with Jack Grealish wide left and Anwar El Ghazi on the right.
Grealish will be looked to to provide the creativity for Villa – the Englishman sits top of the charts for goals, assists, passes, and shots for the claret and blue army in the Premier League this season [Premier League], and Villa’s result will most likely depend on his performances.
Samatta will complete the XI upfront for Villa. With 2 goals in the 5 games he’s played for the Villans [Aston Villa], the Tanzanian will be wanting to extend that tally at the King Power stadium – whilst relying on the attacking creativity of Grealish.
How would you line up? Join the discussion by commenting below…
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