Aston Villa face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening, and boss Dean Smith has delivered positive team news and injury updates.
Villa picked up four points from our opening three games of the Premier League season prior to the international break, and we will now be looking to build on that moving forward and continue to improve.
While we do face a tough fixture schedule in the coming weeks starting with a trip to Chelsea this weekend, it’s hoped that there is enough quality and depth in the squad available to Smith to ensure that we compete and continue to pick up points and climb the table.
From injury setbacks to fitness concerns and Covid-related absences, it was a far from ideal pre-season and start to the campaign for Villa, but as per Smith in his comments in his press conference on Friday, it certainly sounds a lot more promising now as the group gets numbers back and gets stronger.
“We’re getting healthier. We’ve lost a lot of players during the start of the season and this international window has given us an opportunity to get some back to full fitness,” he told the media on Friday, as per the club’s official site. “We should be welcoming Ollie Watkins back to the fold – he played 15 minutes against Brentford. We’ve also got Leon Bailey back to full fitness now.
“He’s [Bailey] trained with us for the last ten days, so he’s fully over the hamstring problem that he had. We’re excited to see him in a Villa shirt playing lots of minutes.
“Bertrand Traore has trained the last couple of days as well. John McGinn and Jacob Ramsey have recovered from their Covid-19 situations too.
“Carney Chukwuemeka unfortunately got injured in the England Under-19s game in the week, so he’ll be missing this weekend. Jaden Philogene-Bidace got injured as well with England.”
On Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia, Smith added: “They’re back in a green zone country and working hard to get ready for Everton next week.”
While it will be a blow to be without both Martinez and Buendia this weekend, it is undoubtedly great to hear that the likes of Watkins, Bailey, Traore and McGinn are back in contention, and that will certainly give us a boost heading into the Chelsea game with a number of our more senior and most threatening players back in the fold.