Aston Villa face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday as we look to follow up our win over Everton with another three points.
It was an ideal response after the disappointment of losing at Bournemouth on the opening weekend of the Premier League season, but Steven Gerrard will know that while we secured the desired outcome, there is still much to improve in terms of the performance.
Villa suffered a blow this week after Diego Carlos underwent surgery for a ruptured Achilles tendon, and so Gerrard has a big decision to make this weekend as to who steps in and likely partners Tyrone Mings in the heart of the defence.
That said, we’re in a healthy place currently as that is our only notable absentee, and so time will tell what our starting line-up looks like on Saturday afternoon as we face a difficult task against Patrick Vieira’s side given they’re coming off the back of an impressive draw at Anfield against Liverpool.
Buendia must start, Chambers in for Carlos
Having now recovered from a slight knock he suffered in pre-season, Emiliano Buendia looks fully fit and reinforced the argument in favour of him starting for Villa after his impressive impact off the bench against Everton with what was ultimately the winning goal.
The Argentine playmaker usually has a positive influence on our play when involved, and with his intensity, inventiveness, creativity and energy, he makes a huge difference to our play both on and off the ball.
Coupled with the fact that Philippe Coutinho is continuing to struggle for form, this has to be the game where Buendia gets the nod over his Brazilian teammate, and so all eyes will be on Gerrard’s team-sheet on Saturday as to whether we finally get our wish or if there is further disappointment for Buendia.
Elsewhere, Villa will be forced into just one other change with Carlos now a long-term absentee, and so it remains to be seen if Ezri Konsa or Calum Chambers gets the green light to come in to replace him.
Tyrone Mings was impressive on his return to the Villa line-up last time out and so he can be confident of keeping his spot, and given Konsa hasn’t been at his best in the opening two games and was dropped for the Everton game, there could be a chance that Gerrard decides to go with Chambers instead.
Emi Martinez will continue between the posts, with Lucas Digne and Matty Cash settled in the full-back positions.
In midfield, Jacob Ramsey, Boubacar Kamara and John McGinn were all key in that victory over Everton and will hope to keep their places, while if Buendia forces his way into the XI, he could start behind Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins after the Villa frontmen looked dangerous last Saturday.
While that is arguably the Villa XI that makes most sense for this game, time will tell if Gerrard agrees or opts to go with something a little different.
— Talk Villa (@thetalkvilla) August 19, 2022