Aston Villa are unarguably one of the favourites to clinch a ticket for promotion to the Premier League. Under the tutelage of Steve Bruce, the Villans have really dazzled this season and are currently placed at the 2nd spot in the Championship table with 59 points to their name from 31 league encounters.
On Saturday, they are due to make a trip to the Craven Cottage to face Fulham in their next league fixture. Jonathan Kodjia and Jed Steer are out injured, but Gabriel Agbonlahor and Mile Jedinak are fit to feature. Here is how we expect Bruce to roll out his starting line-up against Slavisa Jokanovic’s troops.
Sam Johnstone is expected to start between the sticks once again for the Lions. The 24-year-old custodian has mustered a fine season so far in the Championship, having notched up 14 clean sheets from 31 games and has been one of the main reasons for Villa’s form this season.
John Terry and James Chester are expected to be chalked once again at the heart of Aston Villa’s defence. Terry and Chester have really been able to inject a lot of resilience at the back and have worked really well together and it is highly unlikely that we would see Bruce trifling with a proven chemistry.
From the right-back slot, Ahmed Elmohamady is expected to showcase his industry and on the other side, Bruce will select Alan Hutton. The Lions have garnered 5 clean sheets in their last 7 league fixtures and Bruce’s defensive line would not be bereft of confidence against the Cottagers.
Birkir Bjarnason is anticipated to operate as a deep-lying holding midfielder to cushion the backline, having performed brilliantly in the recent games. Ahead of him, Jack Grealish and Conor Hourihane are looking all set to operate right from the very beginning.
Hourihane and Grealish have the calibre to not only dictate the tempo of the game from the middle of the park, but have also galloped forward occasionally to carve offensive endeavours for their side. Robert Snodgrass would be a sensible option to be placed on the right side of the midfield whereas on the left, Albert Adomah is expected to start once again.
Up front, we expect Bruce to go with Scott Hogan. Hogan has been in a decent touch of late as he has scored 3 goals in his last 4 league outings and would be definitely looking to make his presence felt against Fulham.