Steven Gerrard made an instant impact as Aston Villa boss with successive wins against Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace. Although they suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat against mighty Manchester City, the galvanized Villans would threaten Leicester City on Sunday evening at Villa Park.
The Foxes are having a mixed run of form so far this campaign. They are yet to stake a claim in the ‘top four’ race but have enough quality to climb up the league ladder with an array of favourable outcomes in the coming days. Gerrard and Brendan Rodgers contested each other in the Old Firm derbies, however, the weekend encounter would be a different ball game altogether given the intensity of Premier League football.
Predicted 4-1-4-1 Aston Villa Lineup To Face Leicester City
Emiliano Martínez has been a revelation between the sticks for the West Midlands outfit. He would retain his ‘number 1’ slot and help them maintain composure from the last line of defence.
Left fullback Matt Targett was forced to leave the pitch against City with a head injury. But the gaffer expects him to be available for the Leicester game, whereas Matty Cash must retain his right-back role given his expertise down the wide. Former boss Dean Smith failed to find a stable central defensive pairing, unlike the new chief who has banked on Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa ahead of Axel Tunazebe and Kortney Hause.
Gerrard mostly preferred a 4-3-3 during his Rangers realm but has tweaked the set-up at Villa with a more flexible formation. He has often switched his side to a 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1, thanks to the flexibility offered by the midfield stars. Marvelous Nakamba is operating from the hole’ in between the backline and ‘midfield four’. He would not only marshall the backline but also orchestrate the show from the deep with his holding ability, passing and distribution traits.
Jacob Ramsey was dropped against Man City, but the youngster should be reintegrated in the middle of the park for his ball-carrying attribute, sparkling runs and swift footwork. The experience of John McGinn would be crucial for box-to-box movements and vision. An array of wide attacking options are sidelined due to fitness reasons and the manager should opt for Ashley Young’s experience in the absence of Leon Bailly. Emiliano Buendia should feature from the right midfield role ahead of Anwar El Ghazi who is more suited as a wing forward. Trezeguet and Bertrand Traore remain unavailable with their respective knee and thigh injuries.
While Danny Ings is recovering from a thigh strain, Ollie Watkins would spearhead the Villa attack as he found the net against Manchester City minutes after the break. Keinan Davis would remain as the understudy to the English hitman and wait for his opportunities high up the pitch.