Aston Villa make the trip to Old Trafford to face Man Utd this weekend, with Dean Smith facing a few key decisions with regards to his starting XI.
Villa picked up a crucial win over Everton last weekend, but we saw our Carabao Cup run come to an end after being beaten by Chelsea on penalties at Stamford Bridge.
In turn, the focus now returns to the Premier League, and while we face a difficult assignment this weekend, we certainly have the quality in the side and the growing confidence within the group that we can come away with something.
Hause to get nod, McGinn status unclear
With Axel Tuanzebe ineligible to face his parent club, he joins Leon Bailey, Morgan Sanson, Keinan Davis and Trezeguet as being unavailable for this encounter.
Smith has opted to go with a 3-5-2 system in our last two league games against Chelsea and Everton, and so if the Villa boss sticks with it, that could see Kortney Hause come in to replace Tuanzebe off the back of his impressive display at Stamford Bridge in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.
Matt Targett appeared to pick up a problem last weekend and was eventually replaced. In turn, it remains to be seen if he’s shaken that off and fully recovered to be a starter on the left flank, with Ashley Young no doubt ready to step in if necessary.
Another doubt at this stage is John McGinn after he was forced off with concussion symptoms against Everton in the first half, and so time will tell if he will join Douglas Luiz and Jacob Ramsey in midfield, or perhaps if one of Marvelous Nakamba or Carney Chukwuemeka will get the nod instead.
Much will depend on the system chosen though, as if we go with a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1, that opens the door for the likes of Emiliano Buendia and Bertrand Traore to be named in the starting XI, and so it remains to be seen what Smith goes with in that regard as it will ultimately impact what personnel is selected.
It’s an intriguing one for Villa fans and a refreshing development this season to see us be less predictable and have the options and depth to try different things and use different dynamics in our side to try and get the best possible result against the opposition that week.
Following our win over Everton, it’s hoped that we can build on that and string some good performances and results together, but it will no doubt be difficult against Cristiano Ronaldo and Man Utd on Saturday.
Probable Villa XI vs Man Utd: Martinez; Konsa, Hause, Mings; Cash, McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Ramsey, Targett; Ings, Watkins.