After their shock defeat in the last game away at Cardiff City, who are dwelling at the 21st position, Aston Villa wouldn’t be very hopeful of getting a positive result when they visit White Hart Lane to play Tottenham Hotspur in the 3rd round of the FA Cup.
Tottenham Hotspur, on the other hand, are brimming with confidence after they handed Chelsea their first defeat in 13 games in the Premier League and are easily the favourites to go ahead into the fourth round of the FA Cup. Aston Villa at maximum could take advantage of the complacency, if they will be any, from the North London side.
Another big advantage could be Spurs’ fatigue. After playing a high-octane game on Wednesday, Pochettino is not expected to play his full first team in the weekend as they host West Bromwich Albion next. Villa could surely take advantage of that.
Mark Bunn will take his place under the bar once again. After a faltering start by Pierluigi Gollini, Bunn has steadied the ship quite well for Bruce.
Jordan Amavi and Alan Hutton are expected to take the left and right flank respectively with James Chester and Nathan Baker starting in the middle. Spurs don’t have much of an option in the striker’s role. If Harry Kane doesn’t feature, then Pochettino is left with unproven Victor Janssen or Son. Either way, Bruce will need something special from Chester and Baker to get something out of White Hart Lane.
Bruce will have Micah Richards and Richie De Laet unavailable for selection for the crucial game. While Richards is an absentee till early February, De Laet is out for the season.
Jedinak missed the last game against Cardiff with cold and is expected to return against Spurs. A defensive minded midfielder would be a huge advantage for Bruce, who would be more than happy to get a return leg out of the game by a draw. He should start alongside Ashley Westwood.
Gabriel Agbonlahor and Albert Adomah are expected to start on the flanks. Both Jonathan Kodija and Jordan Ayew are away at African Cup of Nations and Aston Villa are hugely going to miss the centre forwards. We expect young Jack Grealish to take his place as the central attacking midfielder in their absence.
Ross McCormack is expected to take his place as the striker. After Rudy Gestede leaving for Middlesbrough, Bruce doesn’t have much of an option unless he plays Agbonlahor up front.