Aston Villa host Leicester City at Villa Park on Sunday afternoon and Dean Smith will hope his side put in a better performance than last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Claret and Blues manager has been consistent in regard to team selections this season, but he’ll be forced into one change due to injury. Whether he also makes a tweak in midfield remains to be seen, however.
Emi Martinez put in a Man of the Match performance against Brighton, so his place in the side is secure. Tyrone Mings made 11 clearances last Saturday while Ezri Konsa blocked five shots (WhoScored), so the two centre-backs should continue their partnership.
Matty Cash is out with a hamstring injury, so Ahmed Elmohamady is likely to start at right-back. Matt Targett turned over the ball five times against Brighton, so he should keep his place at left-back.
John McGinn wasn’t at his best last weekend but still turned over the ball seven times, created a chance and had two successful dribbles, so he won’t lose his place in midfield. Douglas Luiz struggled against Brighton, but he played a full 90 minutes regardless and has had a week to recover.
Ross Barkley was again substituted after a miserable outing and might be at risk of losing his spot to Jack Grealish.
This writer noted that Smith has avoided dropping the 27-year-old because he doesn’t have a better wide man on the left than Grealish, but Ahmed El Ghazi has five goals in six league starts, creates a chance every 56.7 minutes and boasts a successful dribble every 33.4 minutes (WhoScored), so he’s a better option than Trezeguet.
Bertrand Traore’s only had a hand in one goal from his last five games (WhoScored), but there isn’t a better option on the right. And Ollie Watkins is a shoo-in to start as he’s scored four goals in his last six (WhoScored)
Predicted XI to face Leicester City: Martinez; Elmohamady, Konsa, Mings, Targett; Luiz, McGinn; Traore, Grealish, El Ghazi; Watkins.