Confirmed Villa XI vs Palace: Emery makes two key changes

Aston Villa host Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon as we look to build on our win at Everton last weekend and improve our home form.

Results at Villa Park haven’t been as positive as our away form under Unai Emery thus far, and the Spaniard has repeatedly spoken about wanting to address that issue and find consistency as we continue to push to break into the Premier League top 10.

READ MORE: Emery delighted with Villa ace’s mentality, crucial impact so far

Under Emery, Villa have won four of five away games along with one defeat, while scoring eight goals and conceding just four – three of which came in our defeat to Man City.

Frustratingly, we haven’t been able to find that level of performance at home thus far, as we’ve won two, drawn one and lost three at Villa Park, scoring 11 goals and conceding 14.

That follows consecutive 4-2 defeats to Leicester City and Arsenal respectively, and so the Palace game is an important test to show that we’ve learned from our mistakes, and can execute the game-plan and style of play that the Villa boss wants us to produce and has planned for during the week.

Key characteristics of that are more control of possession and tempo as well as good positioning and shape on the pitch across the 90 minutes, and so we’ll see if we can produce that this weekend.

Emery has opted to make two changes to his starting Villa line-up, with Alex Moreno and Emiliano Buendia coming in for Lucas Digne and Leon Bailey.

The Buendia decision is a no-brainer after his fantastic impact off the bench last weekend as Bailey continues to struggle to find form, while Moreno will inject more energy and quality into our play down the left flank having been battling Digne for more game-time in recent weeks.

It’s a strong Villa XI with a good balance and plenty of quality across the pitch, but we are light on the bench with only eight substitutes named out of an allotted nine.

Further, Emery has once again opted to put two goalkeepers on the bench, and while he explained in his press conference on Friday that it’s an important part of the preparation for the game and so he has that third goalkeeping option available, it’s arguably still disappointing that none of our youth players are given an opportunity to gain matchday experience at senior level.

Nevertheless, the most important thing is that we get the three points on Saturday and continue to try and find consistency and put another good run of form together.

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