Aston Villa travel to Manchester United on Saturday afternoon, as they resume Premier League matters.
Dean Smith’s side will be aiming to put their midweek League Cup exit – courtesy of a penalty shootout defeat at Chelsea – out of their minds and continue their very encouraging Premier League performances. The Villans followed a generally undeserved 3-0 league defeat at Stamford Bridge with a dominating 3-0 victory over Everton last weekend, putting on an exciting and promising display in the process.
Smith’s men have another nasty test this weekend, though, facing a Manchester United side who sit third in the table – level on points with Chelsea and Liverpool – after four wins and a draw to kick the campaign off.
Here’s the lineup Smith could opt for to upset the odds.
Aston Villa predicted lineup vs Manchester United – Premier League 1. Goalkeeper & Defenders Former Manchester United captain could start against his old side | Robin Jones/Getty ImagesEmi Martinez (GK) – Was a relief for Villa to have their Argentinian shot stopper back between the sticks against Everton, and Martinez will certainly don the gloves at Old Trafford.
Matty Cash (RB) – Smith has tried a three at the back in recent weeks although could go back to a more familiar four to match United on Saturday, meaning right-back role for potentially soon-to-be Poland international Cash.
Ezri Konsa (CB) – With Axel Tuanzebe ineligible to play against his parent club, it should be a simple choice to put Konsa at the heart of defence.
Tyrone Mings (CB) – Alongside him will be the ever-present Mings, whose impressive form in recent seasons has made him a regular in the England set up as well as now captaining Aston Villa following the departure of Jack Grealish.
Ashley Young (LB) – Matt Targett is a doubt for the trip to Manchester meaning a possible start for the versatile Young, who captained United before moving on to Inter.
2. Midfielders Emi Buendia could come back for his first Premier League outing in nearly a month | James Williamson – AMA/Getty ImagesDouglas Luiz (CM) – Has become an integral component of this Aston Villa team and, following consistent displays to commence the campaign and a neat assist against Everton last time out, he should definitely be in line for another start.
John McGinn (CM) – Like Targett, McGinn is a doubt for Saturday’s fixture but, if he’s deemed fit to play, expect the tenacious Scotsman to be one of the first names on the team sheet.
Emi Buendia (AM) – Smith has a few different systems to opt for at the top of the pitch but we could see Buendia feature behind the striker again for this one, with the Argentine aiming to build on his one goal in three outings.
3. Forwards Always a goal threat | James Williamson – AMA/Getty ImagesBertrand Traore (RW) – Yet to find the net this season although Traore is always capable of pulling an absolute worldie out of his hat – so United will have to be wary.
Danny Ings (ST) – Should Smith return to the one-man strike force, it will likely be Ings over Ollie Watkins. The former Southampton man has two goals and two assists in five Premier League appearances so far this season.
Anwar El Ghazi (LW) – Leon Bailey is unfortunately a doubt after being forced off the pitch following a barnstorming contribution against Everton last Saturday. El Ghazi, who has one league goal to his name thus far, could be the one to start on the left.