Dean Smith Recalls El Ghazi To The XI | Predicted 4-1-4-1 Aston Villa Lineup Vs Chelsea

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 16: Bjorn Engels of Aston Villa celebrates after scoring his sides second goal with Ezri Konsa of Aston Villa during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park on February 16, 2020 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Premier League strugglers Aston Villa will be hoping to get back to winning ways in the league when they welcome Frank Lampard’s Chelsea side to Villa Park on Saturday night. The Villans are coming into this tie on the back of a gutting 4-0 defeat at the hands of Leicester City, where after a decent performance for the opening forty minutes, they seemed to completely collapse defensively.

A similar incident against a dangerous team like Chelsea could prove to be even more embarrassing for the home side. The Blues’ most recent league outing ended in the 4-0 thrashing of Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton, which showcases the sheer amount of quality that’s currently at Lampard’s disposal. Keeping the likes of Ross Barkley, Pedro and Willian quiet will be of supreme importance to Dean Smith’s side.

Team News

The biggest piece of positive news for Villa fans will be the potential return of John McGinn. The highly-rated midfielder has been missing since December owing to an ankle problem, and his rehabilitation will be seen as an excellent sign. This leaves the Villans with just two big-name injury concerns on either end of the pitch – Tom Heaton and Wesley. While Mbwana Samatta has filled Wesley’s boots fairly well, Pepe Reina’s lack of composure has come into the limelight over the last few weeks.

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa applauds the fans during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Aston Villa at American Express Community Stadium on January 18, 2020 in Brighton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Predicted 4-1-4-1 Aston Villa Lineup Vs Chelsea

Formation: 4-1-4-1

Defence

With Tom Heaton out injured, and despite the availability of Orjan Nyland, Dean Smith could opt to start Spanish veteran Pepe Reina between the sticks once again on the weekend. The former Liverpool man was the talk of the town last week after his negative contribution in Villa’s defeat at the hands of Leicester City. In front of him, expect Smith to stick with the same back four. Bjorn Engels and Tyrone Mings will be tasked with the centre-half roles, while Frederic Guilbert and Matt Targett should start as the wide men.

Midfield

Marvelous Nakamba has been one of the Villans’ most consistent performers since the start of the campaign, despite this being his first-ever season in the Premier League. The midfield destroyer continues to provide stability to this Villa side in the middle of the park and is hence set to continue. In front of him, expect to see Douglas Luiz and Conor Hourihane starting as the two midfielders. Although McGinn is in contention too, this fixture could come too early for him. Anwar El Ghazi is set to come into the side for this tie, with Jack Grealish retaining his place on the other side.

Attack

Mbwana Samatta started life in the Premier League exceptionally well but has since slowed down. Despite this though, in the absence of summer signing Wesley, the Tanzanian international has stepped up to the plate to a certain extent. Although he was unable to find the net against Leicester City in their most recent fixture, he did look the likeliest to create something out of nothing.

Nikhil has been an avid Chelsea fan for as long as the concept of time has existed and rumours say that he even bleeds blue. Having lived in the UK for 3 years, Nikhil is said to have an excellent understanding of the atmosphere surrounding the English game. His role model is the greatest manager of all time - Jose Mourinho.