Here’s our prediction for the starting XI that Steven Gerrard could select to take on the Saints, as Villa aim to secure their second league win of the campaign.
We anticipate that there will be two changes in personnel from the team which started the 1-1 draw against Manchester City last time out, with a slight reshuffle for another player.
Martinez – Young, Mings, Konsa, Digne – Ramsey, Kamara, McGinn – Bailey, Watkins, Buendia
Moving onto the defence, the only change that we see Gerrard making from the quartet which started against Man City is to bring in Ashley Young, who we think will replace the injured Matty Cash at right-back, just as he did as a substitute against Pep Guardiola’s side.
This would make a back four of Young on the right with Lucas Digne on the left and a centre-back duo of Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa.
In midfield, we predict that the Villa boss will take out Douglas Luiz, for whom the club rejected a £25m bid at the end of the summer transfer window, and withdraw Jacob Ramsey slightly after he played a more attacking role against City.
Alongside Ramsey in midfield, we think that Gerrard will stick with Boubacar Kamara and John McGinn to make up the trio.
For the three attacking positions, with Luiz dropping out and Ramsey moving back to take his place midfield, we can see Emi Buendia coming back into the team alongside Ollie Watkins and Leon Bailey.
Previously hailed as a “warrior” by the Villa manager, the Argentine has the highest rate of shots on target per 90 minutes in the Premier League at the club (1.1), which suggests that the 25-year-old could give his team a great chance of sealing a win against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.