How Villa should line up vs Brighton: Konsa returns, key change in midfield

Aston Villa travel to face Brighton on Saturday as Steven Gerrard hopes to put an emphatic end to our recent poor run of form.

Back-to-back defeats with no goals scored have piled pressure on both Gerrard and the Villa squad, as we look to arrest this slide in form and get back on track with a morale-boosting win this weekend.

READ MORE: Five key talking points as woeful Villa deliver another poor display vs Watford

Having hinted at changes against Watford last time out, it wasn’t as many as expected for many Villa fans, and so it will certainly be interesting to see if there are further tweaks made this time round, particularly with key issues continuing to emerge week in and week out.

Villa undoubtedly need to improve significantly from what we’ve seen in recent weeks, but time will tell if they can produce a response in what promises to be a difficult encounter.

Konsa returns from suspension, Sanson in finally?

After serving a two-game suspension, Ezri Konsa is expected to return to the starting line-up in place of Calum Chambers, and that in itself will be a major boost for Villa given how influential he is for us in the backline.

A key issue for Villa since the start of this season, albeit there have been a few games here and there where we look to have tightened things up, is that we’re conceding far too many goals and looking too vulnerable defensively.

While Konsa’s return will help address that problem, it won’t fix it entirely. In turn, we need an improvement from the team as a whole.

Emi Martinez, Matty Cash, Tyrone Mings and Lucas Digne are expected to keep their places in the starting XI, while John McGinn and Jacob Ramsey will likely start again in midfield.

Where a key change should be made, and needs to be made, is the defensive midfield role in front of the backline. That means Douglas Luiz dropping out, and perhaps Morgan Sanson finally getting a chance to impress.

Admittedly, that isn’t a natural role to the Frenchman, but he has the characteristics and qualities needed to adapt and play that role, and he would arguably be much more impactful and influential than Luiz, given the improvement from a defensive perspective that he would bring.

Both Emi Buendia and Philippe Coutinho will likely get the chance to make a key difference again, while Ollie Watkins will hope he can get the nod ahead of Danny Ings and take his place in the side back after being dropped last time out.

Ings encountered similar struggles in terms of a lack of service and offering a limited threat, and particularly given we’re away from home, Watkins’ pace and ability to get in behind defences is surely a strength that we should maximise, while Leon Bailey will be itching to come off the bench to have an impact too.