Aston Villa travel to take on Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday, and Steven Gerrard has key decisions to make.
Villa will be looking to end a three-game losing streak this weekend, a run of form which has contributed to us dropping down to 15th in the Premier League table.
While we do have games in hand on those around us and two wins could potentially move us up above Leicester into ninth place, it emphasises how crucial it is to now pick up three points and finish the season well.
What Gerrard and the players will not want to do though is be looking over our shoulders with a handful of games to go, with Burnley now just eight points behind us in 17th place.
In turn, it makes this weekend’s encounter with Leicester all the more important, and with absentees confirmed, it remains to be seen who makes the starting XI.
Gerrard confirms Villa team news vs Leicester
As per the Villa boss in his press conference on Friday, Kortney Hause, Lucas Digne, Morgan Sanson and Bertrand Traore will not be available this weekend as they are sidelined by injury.
In turn, that limits him in certain areas, and it becomes a clear choice as to who steps in and fills those voids in the XI.
Elsewhere, there are still decisions to make on who he prefers and what system he goes with, namely whether or not he goes with two up top in Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings in a 4-3-1-2 formation, or drops one of our strikers and adds more creativity and presence in midfield.
Emiliano Martinez, Matty Cash, Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings are expected to continue in defence, with Ashley Young the favourite at this stage to step in and play instead of Digne.
John McGinn, Douglas Luiz and Jacob Ramsey will be confident of keeping their respective places with Sanson out, while Emiliano Buendia and Philippe Coutinho could support one of Watkins or Ings.
Marvelous Nakamba was back in the squad last time out, but given his lack of first-team minutes in recent months, it seems unlikely that he will be thrust straight back into the line-up without a gradual build up of minutes off the bench first, but, that’s a choice for Gerrard to make depending on how he’s fared in training.
As we look to end our poor run of form, it doesn’t seem the most opportune time for Gerrard to experiment and bring in some of our youngsters, and so the likes of Ben Chrisene, Tommi O’Reilly and Tim Iroegbunam may well have to wait a little longer for significant minutes.
Nevertheless, again much will depend on how they’ve performed in training this week, as ultimately that could be enough to convince Gerrard to give them a chance and so there could be a surprise or two in the Villa starting XI named on Saturday afternoon.