Aston Villa dispatched Middlesbrough 3-0 at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday evening, making it 5 wins and a draw from their last 6 matches.
One of the reasons Dean Smith was selected to be Villa’s manager was his reputation for getting the most out of his attacking players, and he is currently meeting these expectations as his side are currently averaging 2.5 goals a game. To put this into some perspective, when Bruce was in charge, Villa were averaging just 1.5 goals a match.
Villa fans will be hoping that the goals continue to fly in as the upcoming fixtures don’t get any easier. Next up for Smith’s men is a trip to The Hawthorns on Friday night to take on West Brom, who currently sit third in the table, four points above Villa.
A win for Villa could, if other results go their way, see them move into the top 6 for a first time in a long while.
Here is our predicted Villa XI for Friday’s match against West Brom:
GK: Orjan Nyland
Nyland has been getting a lot of stick lately, but he will be Villa’s number one until the January transfer window at least.
RB: Alan Hutton
Missed the win over Middlesbrough because of suspension, but we expect him to be back in the starting XI on Friday evening.
CB: James Chester
Chester has been pretty inconsistent this season, but he is still one of the first names on Smith’s teamsheet.
CB: Axel Tuanzebe
Tuanzebe has barely had a poor game the whole season, and he will almost certainly be starting alongside Chester against West Brom.
LB: Neil Taylor
Taylor has improved under Smith, and we expect to see him starting on Friday.
RM: Anwar El Ghazi
El Ghazi put in a great performance against Middlesbrough at the weekend and we think he might have done enough to earn himself another start.
CM: John McGinn
McGinn has been one of Villa’s best players this season and the only way he won’t be starting is if he picks up an injury or illness before Friday evening.
CM: Conor Hourihane
Hourihane is playing much better under Smith, and we expect to see him line up alongside Grealish and McGinn once again.
CM: Jack Grealish
Grealish is like the Hazard of the Championship as he is the most fouled player in the league by a country mile. This highlights how talented he is and Smith will certainly not be leaving him out any time soon.
LM: Yannick Bolasie
Bolasie caused Middlesbrough’s defenders all sorts of issues on Saturday, and we think he will be rewarded with yet another start.
ST: Tammy Abraham
Abraham just cannot stop scoring at the moment, making him one of the first names on the teamsheet.