Aston Villa will look to bounce back against Leicester City on Sunday, with Steven Gerrard possibly making key changes to his starting XI.
Villa suffered a first defeat of the Gerrard tenure in midweek, but there were a number of important positives to take out of that game which in turn can help us get back to winning ways immediately and continue to move in the right direction.
There was a double blow in terms of fresh injury concerns on Wednesday night though, with both Leon Bailey and Matt Targett coming off with knocks, and Gerrard has since confirmed that Bailey will be out until after Christmas, while a late decision will be made on our first-choice left-back, as per his Friday press conference.
In turn, he’ll likely be forced into changes, but he has plenty of options on the bench to rotate and make tweaks to give us the best possible chance of securing all three points this weekend.
Ramsey back in? Young to fill in for Targett if needed
As we saw in midweek, the obvious switch at left-back if Targett is unavailable is to bring in Ashley Young to replace him, with the stalwart’s versatility allowing him to fill that role with no problem at all.
The rest of the backline will likely remain the same, while Gerrard has a decision to make in midfield as to whether he brings Jacob Ramsey back into the side after the youngster was rested for the City game as he has been carrying a couple of knocks.
Naturally, much will depend on his fitness and if he is at 100 percent, but having been unlucky to drop to the bench last time out given his impressive recent displays, he’ll hope to come straight back in with Douglas Luiz perhaps the one to miss out.
Ollie Watkins looks in fine form and so he should be given the opportunity to spearhead the Villa attack and lead the line again, while we saw more flashes from Emiliano Buendia and now it’s hoped that he can start putting some more of those positive aspects of his display together to become a creative force and decisive figure in the final third for us.
The big question in that area of the pitch though is who will Gerrard replace Bailey with?
Anwar El Ghazi could be the obvious choice after making a positive impact off the bench in the two games prior to the City clash, but Carney Chukwuemeka could be given a chance to shine after coming on in the second half on Wednesday.
The youngster had a great chance to make it 2-2 but couldn’t convert, although Gerrard praised him for his movement and run to get into that position in the first place, and by deploying him out on the left in a more advanced role, it could give him the freedom and flexibility to really shine.
It’s a position he looked brilliant in at youth level, and so time will tell if Gerrard goes with youth or experience for this one, with Leicester undoubtedly set to provide a stern test this weekend.