Aston Villa host Chelsea on the second day of Christmas, hoping to continue what has been an extremely encouraging start to Steven Gerrard’s term.
The new Villa boss has overseen four wins in his six opening matches in the dugout – defeating Brighton, Crystal Palace, Leicester and most recently Norwich – and has only seen his team barely defeated by Manchester City and Liverpool.
The villa’s schedule was interrupted last time as their clash with Burnley was postponed due to an increase in Covid-19 cases within the squad. On his way into his first match in 13 days, Gerrard has admitted that he is unsure of his players’ availability for the Chelsea visit, but since most players with Covid-19 are now returning to action, we can assume that the line-up may look like the one that beat the Canary Islands 2-0 last time.
Here’s who the Villa boss can line up to trump a Chelsea team that endures a bit of a rocky patch.
A bundle of energy / Justin Setterfield / GettyImages
Emi Martinez (GK) – Has only missed one of Villa’s 17 Premier League matches so far this semester, and kept five zeros in the process.
Matty Cash (RB) – Has been fantastic in recent weeks, and shows the endurance, energy and drive from Gerrard’s side from the right back.
Ezri Konsa (CB) – Tyrone Ming’s natural first choice, Konsa, is set for a 16th league start of the campaign.
Tyrone Mings (CB) – Will most likely continue to jump from the back line, having done so 15 times in the Premier League this semester.
Matt Targett (LB) – Slightly overshadowed by his fellow defender’s attacking ability, Targett can be just as threatening as he plunders up and down on his own flank.
Jacob Ramsey. pic.twitter.com/L5aPbyGTQr
– Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) December 14, 2021
John McGinn (CM) – Seems tailored for a Gerrard team and with his bite and dynamics is a dead cert to continue to be in the midfield for as long as possible.
Douglas Luiz (CM) – Marvelous Nakamba is guaranteed to miss in the coming months due to a knee injury so, if available, Luiz should be set to anchor the side again.
Jacob Ramsey (CM) – To develop very well in Villa’s midfield and, after his sensational solo goal at Carrow Road last time, is pretty much nailed to the start if it’s in shape.
Leader Line / Stephen Pond / GettyImages
Emi Buendia (RF) – Has to some extent picked up on his achievements since the arrival of the new boss and looks more like a creative threat than in the early stages of the campaign.
Olli Watkins (ST) – An important cog for Gerrard’s collective, Watkins has scored three goals and one assist since the 41-year-old’s introduction.
Ashley Young (LF) – With Leon Bailey’s continued stinginess on the sidelines, it’s likely to fall on Young to complete this Christmas tree formation for Villa’s festive clash.
You can read the entire 90mins preview of the match here. You can find a predicted line-up for Chelsea here.
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