Important last away game of the season takes us to Villa
Tonight’s game at Aston Villa is our second trip there this season. The game was called off around two hours before kick off on its original date in August and we now travel there again in need of some points to try and stay in the Premier League.
With the weekend results, nothing can be decided tonight. If we win, we can still be relegated and if we lose we can still stay up. No matter what the result, it will definitely go into the final day of the season for both Burnley and Leeds with Everton needing a win against Crystal Palace tonight to finally get clear.
Those are the three teams who could go down. One of us will along with the already relegated pair of Norwich and Watford, but it remains in our own hands. If we can win the last two games, if we can win one and avoid defeat in the other, then we will be safe for another season.
Midfielder Josh Brownhill is pleased to have another game so quickly after the defeat at Spurs. “It gives you something to look forward to and for us, especially coming up to the end of the season, it’s a good game to go and get some points on the board,” he said.
Brownhill has been a regular started alongside Jack Cork in midfield since replacing the injured Ashley Westwood at West Ham. He’s made a total of 33 Premier League appearances this season with all but three of them starts. I expect him to start tonight but will there be any changes?
Michael Jackson hinted at the press conference two days ago that a number of the players ruled out recently with injuries are back in training and could feature tonight at Villa and what a boost that would be.
We know Westwood and Matěj Vydra are out with long term injuries but both Ben Mee and Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson are back in training. I’d be amazed if either start tonight’s game; Mee has been out since the beginning of March while JBG hasn’t featured since coming on as a substitute at Arsenal in January.
However, both James Tarkowski and Jay Rodriguez have a chance. Both are back on the grass and it would be a major boost to have either or both of them available.
Time will tell but I don’t envisage many changes to the starting eleven for the Spurs game which was: Nick Pope, Connor Roberts, Nathan Collins, Kevin Long, Matt Lowton, Charlie Taylor, Dwight McNeil, Jack Cork, Josh Brownhill, Ashley Barnes, Maxwel Cornet.
The bench at Spurs was somewhat inexperienced but with players coming back there might be more options for Jackson tonight during the game.
Aston Villa kick off tonight’s game in 14th place but know they can move up three places with a win. They will have to do so without Ezri Konsa who has been ruled out for sixteen weeks with a knee injury sustained in their weekend draw against Crystal Palace with Calum Chambers expected to deputise.
Goalkeeper Emanuel Mártinez is a slight doubt but Steven Gerrard is confident he will play but Kortney Hause and Leon Bailey remain out of the reckoning.
Their team against Palace was: Emanuel Mártinez, Matty Cash, Ezri Konsa, Tyrone Mings, Lucas Digne, Douglas Luiz, Marvelous Nakamba, Philippe Coutinho, John McGinn, Ollie Watkins, Danny Ings. Subs: Robin Olsen, Emanuel Buendía, Bertrand Traoré, Calum Chambers, Ashley Young, Carney Chukwuemeka, Jacob Ramsey, Tim Iroegbunam.
LAST TIME WE WERE THERE
We travelled to Villa having won our previous game 1-0 at Arsenal. We kept another clean sheet but had to settle for a point from a 0-0 draw
Probably the result was no surprise; the only team with more clean sheets than us at the time was Villa and neither side often looked like conceding although Villa always looked the more likely.
The teams were;
Aston Villa: Emiliano Martínez, Ahmed Elmohamady, Kortney Hause, Tyrone Mings, Matt Targett, John McGinn, Anwar El Ghazi, Marvelous Nakamba, Bertrand Traoré (Keinan Davis 80), Ollie Watkins, Jack Grealish. Subs not used: Jed Steer, Frédéric Guilbert, Björn Engels, Neil Taylor, Jacob Ramsey, Conor Hourihane.
Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Robbie Brady (Erik Pieters 90+1), Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Dwight McNeil, Chris Wood (Matěj Vydra 82), Jay Rodriguez (Ashley Barnes 65). Subs not used: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Josh Benson.Follow UpTheClarets:
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