Aston Villa came from two goals behind to earn a draw against Hull last weekend, but that point wasn’t enough to prevent them from falling further away from the play-off places – they now find themselves 7 points behind Derby in 6th place.
Next up for Villa is a home match against Ipswich, who are now being managed by former Villa boss Paul Lambert.
Lambert, who spent three seasons at Villa Park, took over as Ipswich manager on the 27th October, and since then he has seen his side win 2, draw 3 and lose 9 matches. As a result, they currently sit rooted to the bottom of the table with 18 points – 7 points away from safety.
On paper, this should be a simple 3 points for Villa, but we all thought that two weeks ago when they played a Wigan side that had not won a game since the beginning of November. We all remember how that one turned out and Ipswich actually beat Wigan 1-0 in December.
Therefore, there are probably not many Villa fans who are thinking that this will be a walk in the park for their side.
Here is our predicted Villa XI for Saturday’s match against Ipswich.
GK: Lovre Kalinic
Kalinic has been got a lot of stick after his performance against Hull, but he will be Smith’s No. 1 for the rest of the season.
RB: James Bree
Hutton has been getting torn to shreds lately, so we expect him to be dropped and Bree to take his place.
CB: James Chester
Chester has been playing through the pain of a knee injury, and we suspect he will do so once again this weekend.
CB: Tommy Elphick
Elphick has been playing alongside Chester since he was called back from his loan at Hull, and we don’t expect that to change this weekend.
LB: Neil Taylor
Smith has given Taylor more chances to prove himself than many managers would have and due to a lack of natural options at left-back, we expect to see him start again. I’d personally give Hause a start instead.
RM: Andre Green
Green came on for the final 30 minutes against Hull and injected some life into Villa’s attacks. With Bolasie back at Everton, we reckon he will start against Ipswich this weekend.
CM: Birkir Bjarnason
Bjarnason had a bit of a shocker against Hull, but Whelan is unfit and Jedinak has just returned to full fitness, so it is likely that Bjarnason will take up the defensive midfield role once again.
CM: Conor Hourihane
Hourihane has been very poor as of late and has, rightfully so, been heavily criticised. However, once again, we expect him to start due to a severe lack of options.
CM: John McGinn
McGinn has been Villa’s standout performer over the last few matches and he will certainly be starting at the weekend.
LM: Jonathan Kodjia
It was a toss up between Kodjia and Adomah here, and we think Smith will go with the Ivorian as he will offer more of an attacking threat than Adomah.
ST: Tammy Abraham
Abraham has scored in each of his last 6 home games and he will be one of the first names on the teamsheet to face Lambert’s men on Saturday.