Aston Villa will be going into this game much like their opponents, with their main focus being on returning to the Premier League. Villa are currently 13th in the table, so are not doing a great job at that. But they are in a good run of form after they beat Barnsley 3-0 on Saturday.
In their previous League Cup game, they beat Wigan Athletic 4-1. Something they will want to repeat on Tuesday against Middlesbrough.
Here is how Aston Villa may line up against Boro.
Villa played a 4-4-2 on Saturday and it saw them smash Barnsley 3-0. So, Steve Bruce will likely want to stick with the system that worked so well for them last time out. Aston Villa also deployed a similar system, a 4-4-1-1, in their last cup match. Therefore, expect Villa to start with something very similar to that.
GK: Jed Steer
Sam Johnstone has been Villa’s number one keeper in the Championship this season. He’s also managed to keep three clean sheets in a row for Villa. But Bruce clearly favours Steer for the cups as he has played in both of Aston Villa’s cup games so far and is expected to do the same again vs Boro.
Steer has yet to keep a clean sheet in the cup though. A stat Villa fans will be hoping to change come Tuesday night.
RB: Ritchie De Laet
De Laet is very much a fringe player for Aston Villa this season. He has played just 63 minutes of Championship football this year in a 2-1 defeat to Reading.
However, he has featured in both of Villa’s cup games. One of which, the Wigan game, he managed to get an assist in. So, expect him to feature again for Villa against his former club Middlesbrough.
CB: Tommy Elphick
Due to this being a cup game and Villa not being too interested in the cup, it’s highly unlikely John Terry will feature for Aston Villa. As Terry has been captaining Villa in the Championship, that must be passed to someone else against Boro.
Elphick is the likely replacement as captain against Middlesbrough. He has not featured in the league. But he did play and captain Villa in their 4-1 League Cup win over Wigan. Meaning he is likely to do the same again on Tuesday.
CB: Chris Samba
Samba was one of a number of new signing Villa brought in over the summer. However, he has only played 48 minutes of Championship football this season over three appearances.
Samba did also play 90 minutes in Villa’s first cup game against Colchester. But he has been struggling to find a place in the team. Therefore, he can use this game as a platform to fight for a regular place in the Championship.
LB: Birkir Bjarnason
Bjarnason is naturally a left midfielder and he has played there four times in the league for Villa this season. However, as Bruce will want to rest Neil Taylor, their first choice left back, he will need to find someone else to play left back vs Boro.
Bjarnason is the man for the job. He played there for Villa in both of their cup games this season, scoring and assisting one in their win vs Wigan. So, he is likely to start there again on Tuesday.
RM: Albert Adomah
Albert Adomah was put back in the Aston Villa team on Saturday after being dropped by Bruce. So, with a point to prove, Adomah went out against Barnsley and stole the show.
He scored twice and really impressed Steve Bruce who told reporters ‘He’s responded by saying to me ‘How dare you leave me out?’… Certainly, he’s playing next week. How could I leave him out after that?’.
With this in mind, it looks at but certain Adomah will start against his former club Middlesbrough.
CM: Henri Lansbury
Lansbury will likely get a poor reception from Boro fans on Tuesday night. Because in their clash last week, both Lansbury and Adama Traore were sent off. However, only Lansbury’s red card was overturned despite many people feeling his challenge was worse than Traore’s.
Either way, Lansbury is a very competent CM and could cause Boro some problems if he starts.
CM: Mile Jedinak
Jedinak has not featured much this season for Villa and he will not be many fans first choice to start on Tuesday. Despite this, he very well could because Bruce will likely want to rest Whelan and Hourihane who have been their main centre mids this season.
LM: Josh Onomah
Onomah will likely come into the team to face Middlesbrough in order to give Robert Snodgrass a rest. Onomah is a very competent midfielder who can play CAM, CM and LM.
It is the left midfield position he will likely take up on Tuesday. He has already played there twice this season for Villa and he may cause young Connor Roberts of Boro some problems when they clash on Tuesday.
ST: Scott Hogan
Kodjia and Davis were Aston Villa’s strike partnership when they smashed Barnsley on Saturday. However, Kodjia is unlikely to start vs Boro as he has just come back from injury and Bruce will likely not want to risk him for a cup game. Then as far as Davis is concerned, Bruce told reporters that he will be rested for the League Cup tie.
Therefore, one of the likely replacements for Kodjia and Davis is Scott Hogan. Hogan was the man who replaced Davis on Saturday. So, he is likely to fill his spot on Tuesday as well.
ST: Gabriel Agbonlahor
The second striker spot will likely be given to Agbonlahor. He’s played four times for Aston Villa this season scoring and assisting one. Gabriel is a very experienced striker who has scored 86 goals in his time at Villa and he will do a decent job up top on Tuesday.
This is how they might line up:
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