How Villa could line up vs Tottenham: Key decision for Emery, two possible changes

Aston Villa face a difficult assignment at Tottenham on New Year’s Day as we look to bounce back from defeat last time out.

Despite a spirited performance, Villa came up short against Liverpool on Boxing Day and so we’ll be looking to begin the New Year in positive fashion by securing three crucial points.

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It won’t be easy against Antonio Conte’s side, but Unai Emery is starting to see his ideas get across to the players and we’re certainly showing more quality and style to our play.

However, the issue against Liverpool was that we weren’t good enough in either box, and so if we can show a more clinical side to our play and keep things tighter at the back, we’ll have a strong chance of getting something from our trip to north London.

Villa team news vs Tottenham

Jacob Ramsey remains sidelined by a hamstring injury but he’ll hope to be back in contention for Wolves on Wednesday, but that could still come too soon and so our FA Cup third round clash with Stevenage on January 8 is perhaps a more realistic target.

Matty Cash is expected to return to the starting XI having been eased back in after returning from his World Cup exploits, and while we’ll still be missing long-term absentee Diego Carlos, there is optimism that Emi Martinez will be available.

The World Cup winner returned to Bodymoor Heath on Friday morning, and so it’s hoped that he has had sufficient time to settle back in, prove his sharpness and that he is ready to start on Sunday.

It’s a crucial call for Emery though, as with Robin Olsen struggling when stepping in to deputise having conceded 11 goals in three appearances so far this season, Villa could really do with Martinez returning.

Predicted Villa XI vs Tottenham

Martinez will likely come back in given how important he is – as noted above – after having got a full day of training under his belt on Friday, while Cash should replace Ashley Young at right-back.

Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings will continue in the middle, while Lucas Digne completes the backline as he slots in at left-back.

In midfield, with Ramsey still out, it limits Emery somewhat and so Douglas Luiz and Boubacar Kamara will likely start in the heart of the side, with John McGinn and Emiliano Buendia either side of them.

Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins could continue up top to give us pace and movement on the counter attack, but the likes of Danny Ings and Philippe Coutinho will undoubtedly be knocking on the door for a bigger role.

Time will tell what Emery goes with, but we’ll put out a strong XI regardless capable of getting something from the game and starting the New Year positively.

Predicted Aston Villa XI vs Tottenham: Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Digne; McGinn, Luiz, Kamara, Buendia; Bailey, Watkins.