Aston Villa’s staggering 4-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers was undone by their 1-3 defeat at the hands of Queens Park Rangers at the Villa Park on Tuesday. With not many games left and considering Cardiff City’s form, it would not be easy for the Villans to notch an automatic qualification spot.
Steve Bruce’s side are currently placed at the 3rd spot in the league table and are 7 points behind the Bluebirds. On Saturday, they are due to make a trip to the Macron Stadium to face Bolton Wanderers in their next Championship fixture.
Neil Taylor went off the pitch against QPR with a sore groin and he joins Axel Tuanzebe and Alan Hutton on the treatment table. Besides, Aston Villa are also set to be without Jonathan Kodjia, Andre Green, Jed Steer, Jordan Lyden and Glenn Whelan.
Here is how we expect Bruce to roll out his starting line-up against Bolton.
Sam Johnstone is expected to start once again under the bar. The 24-year-old custodian has collected 15 clean sheets from 37 appearances so far this campaign, making 2.57 saves per game on an average, and there is no denying that his notable performances between the sticks have come handy for the Lions.
With Taylor expected to be sidelined, and thus, James Bree could get his second start in an Aston Villa shirt. Bree certainly needs to make the most of the opportunity that he is seemingly likely to receive. Ahmed Elmohamady has been making adequate amount of offensive contributions and has offered his defensive resilience as well and he deserves to keep his place at the right-back.
James Chester and John Terry should be stationed at the heart of Aston Villa’s defence once again. While Terry’s leadership and commanding presence at the back have garnered a lot of drive for the club, Chester has been rock-solid at the back more often than not and the chemistry between these two players would be needed for the rest of the season to give Aston Villa a chance of getting an automatic qualification spot.
From the right-hand side of the midfield, Robert Snodgrass has been in a terrific form and he is set to continue from the aforesaid position. While Conor Hourihane and Jack Grealish are expected to be placed in the central midfield, Albert Adomah has been a bright spark for Aston Villa and should be getting the nod to start from the left side of the midfield.
Considering that Whelan is ruled out and Mile Jedinak played 90 minutes on Tuesday, we expect Birkir Bjarnason to ply his trade as the central defensive midfielder. Bjarnason is more than capable of shielding the back line and galloping forward with the ball whenever situations permit him to.
Lewis Grabban had a really poor game against QPR but he is expected to start up top once again this weekend. Grabban has scored 3 goals in 4 outings and would be aiming to cause trouble to Bolton Wanderers’ defence.
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