The international break came at a great time for Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce as it gave him two weeks to have a deep think about what his best starting XI is.
Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris allowed Bruce to bring in seven new faces during the transfer market, and it is now up to him to form a cohesive team that can take Villa back to the Premier League.
Bruce hasn’t named an unchanged line-up this season which suggests to us that he doesn’t quite know what his best starting XI is.
Villa have had a mixed start to the season – they have 2 wins, 3 draws, and 1 loss, meaning that they currently sit in 12th place in the table with 9 points.
Next up for Bruce’s men is an away trip to Ewood Park on Saturday to take on Blackburn Rovers. Tony Mowbray’s side have had a decent start to the season and are level on points with Villa.
The pressure is on Bruce here because if Villa leave Lancashire with no points, he will be able to hear the cries for him to be sacked 100 or so miles away in Birmingham.
Here is our predicted Villa XI for Saturday’s match against Blackburn:
GK: Orjan Nyland
Nyland is Villa’s No. 1 at the moment, so he will definitely be starting at the weekend.
RB: Ahmed Elmohamady
Before the international break, Bruce played him on the wing, but he looked somewhat lost, so we expect to see him revert back to right back.
CB: James Chester
As Villa’s best defender and club captain, there’s no way that Chester won’t be playing against Blackburn on Saturday.
CB: Axel Tuanzebe
Bruce has surely realized by now that Jedinak is not a CB. This leaves Tuanzebe as his only other option to play alongside Chester.
LB: Alan Hutton
Hutton has made the left-back position his own, so we expect to see him start against Blackburn at the weekend.
LM: Anwar El Ghazi
El Ghazi has shown glimpses of what he is capable of in his first few games for Villa and we think he will get another start on Saturday.
CM: Mile Jedinak
We all know that Bruce likes to err on the side of caution, so we expect to see Jedinak playing just in front of the defence on Saturday.
CM: Jack Grealish
Villa look less potent when Grealish isn’t playing, so it would be very surprising to see him miss out.
CM: John McGinn
McGinn has had a very good start to his Villa career and we expect him to get given a starting berth on Saturday. Bruce will be hoping his pinpoint set pieces can cause havoc.
RM: Yannick Bolasie
Bolasie was a fantastic loan signing for Villa and we think he will make his debut for the club on Saturday.
ST: Tammy Abraham
This was a tough one, but we think Bruce will give Abraham the chance to show the Villa faithful what he can do.