Second place Brighton and Hove Albion await a challenge from Steve Bruce’s unbeaten Aston Villa. The promotion seeking clubs duel at the Falmer Stadium.
Steve Bruce’s five match unbeaten run awaits its toughest challenge yet – an away fixture against Chris Hughton’s Brighton and Hove Albion.
The former Norwich City manager has his squad en fuego with ten wins from sixteen matches to start the year. At his disposal include a number of quality players, including: Glenn Murray, whose nine goals lead the team, the creative Anthony Knockaert, the Ireland international Shane Duffy, and controlling center back Lewis Dunk
Winning at Falmer Stadium will be no easy task, but manager Steve Bruce has some unexpected reinforcements to call upon:
Additionally, forward Ross McCormack will not make the trip after picking up his fifth yellow card of the campaign. Without further ado, our projected Aston Villa lineup:
PROJECTED ASTON VILLA XI (4-3-3): Gollini; Hutton, Chester, Baker, Amavi; Gardner, Bacuna, Tshibola; Adomah, Kodjia, Grealish.
SUBSTITUTES: Bunn, Elphick, Cissokho, Westwood, Jedinak, Ayew, Gestede.
Pierluigi Gollini continues in net, even through a circus of goalkeeper rumors. Moreover, the back line stays the same; leaving captain Tommy Elphick bench duty.
Bruce could elect to deploy a number of formations, but a 4-3-3 seems most likely away from home. Especially, if he believes Mile Jedinak can recover to start after playing less than 72 hours prior in Thailand.
In this scenario, Gardner will sit at home cycling the ball between players while the more mobile Aaron Tshibola and Leandro Bacuna look to press.
Jonathan Kodjia and Albert Adomah continue their hot streak partnership. Jack Grealish starts on his favored left wing. Look for Grealish to draw some fouls and cards – it may be one of the few ways for Aston Villa to create chances away from home.
Still no place for Jordan Ayew, but it would not be shocking in the slightest to see him start. His performances have been nothing short of excellent for the Claret and Blue.
Finally, kickoff is slated for 2:45PM Friday in Brighton (A Friday fixture)! Keep reading ClaretVillans.com for all your Aston Villa news and analysis.