Aston Villa aim to respond strongly to the shock FA Cup loss to Stevenage when they welcome Leeds United to Villa Park in the Premier League on Thursday evening.
The Villans suffered a shock defeat in the FA Cup at the weekend, losing 2-1 at home to League Two outfit Stevenage, and manager Unai Emery will be expecting a riposte in this match.
Emery, whose Villa side drew 1-1 with Wolves in their last Premier League game, take on Leeds United, who have drawn their last two in the league and head to West Midlands on the back of a 2-2 draw with Cardiff City in the FA Cup at the weekend.
John McGinn remains a major injury doubt, having suffered a hamstring injury in the 2-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur on New Year’s Day. Leander Dendoncker is suspended following his straight red card in Sunday’s 2-1 FA Cup loss to Stevenage.
Matty Cash and Ludwig Augustinsson were also both taken off against Stevenage with groin and ankle injury, respectively. So, the full-backs are expected to miss out against Leeds United, while Diego Carlos remains a long-term absentee with an Achilles injury.
Meanwhile, Alex Moreno is yet to officially complete his move from Real Betis, thus, his involvement against Leeds remains doubtful.
Emiliano Martinez was an unused substitute in Villa’s shock FA Cup defeat to Stevenage, although he is a certainty to return in goal against Leeds United in the Premier League. The 2022 World Cup winner will hope to keep a clean sheet at home.
In front of Martinez, a back four of Ashley Young, Ezri Konsa, Tyrone Mings and Lucas Digne could very well start. Young is ahead of Cash in the pecking order and should keep his place at right-back, while Digne hopes to enjoy a productive night from the left-back position.
Konsa will resume his defensive partnership with Mings, as the duo look to keep Rodrigo and co. at bay.
Moving into midfield, Jacob Ramsey is pushing to make his first start since Brighton away back in November having come off the bench against Stevenage. Douglas Luiz and Boubacar Kamara should get the nod again to start, with Emi Buendia operating as a wide midfielder off the left.
Philippe Coutinho and Morgan Sanson should provide cover for midfield positions from the bench.
The Villa boss could opt to take Leon Bailey out of the first XI, with the Jamaican speedster struggling for confidence in recent weeks. In Bailey’s place, Danny Ings could get a chance to impress having scored the equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Wolves last week.
Partnering Ings up top should be Ollie Watkins, who has started every single league game for Villa under Emery.
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