Smith forced to make big decision, 52-cap man starts: AVFC’s predicted XI vs Leicester – opinion

After thrashing Liverpool 7-2 last time out in the Premier League, the last thing Aston Villa would surely have wanted was the international to come.

Dean Smith’s side would have been desperate to keep the momentum going, but instead, have had to wait almost two weeks for their next competitive fixture, with a trip to Leicester on Sunday night.

Both teams arrive having enjoyed an excellent start to the new season, with Villa having won their opening three games, and Leicester winning three and losing one.

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The two sides are locked level on nine points, and a victory for either of them would lay down another major marker of what they hope to achieve this season. For Smith and his team, trying to replicate their superb performance against Liverpool will be the ultimate goal, and below is a look at just how the Villa boss might try and do just that.

Aston Villas potential line up to face Leicester City 240x300 - Smith forced to make big decision, 52-cap man starts: AVFC's predicted XI vs Leicester - opinion

In goal, Emiliano Martinez will continue in between the sticks after his summer arrival from Arsenal, with the Argentine having kept two clean sheets in his opening three Premier League games for the club.

In front of him, Smith will be reluctant to tinker with a back-line that has served him well thus far, and that should see Matty Cash, Ezri Konsa, Tyrone Mings and Matt Targett continue.

The big couple of questions that the Villa boss will have to answer ahead of the game, is how Douglas Luiz, John McGinn and Conor Hourihane fare in training given their long and arduous exploits whilst on international duty.

Given that Luiz had to come back from South America following Brazil’s 4-2 win over Peru, Smith may feel that the central midfielder could be the one to give a breather to, with Marvelous Nakamba coming in as a direct replacement.

Further forward, summer signing and 52-cap international Bertrand Traore will surely be itching to start for his new side in the Premier League, and that could see Trezeguet drop to the bench.

The likes of Ross Barkley, Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins will all be hoping to get on the score-sheet once again after running riot against Liverpool last time out.

Predicted XI: Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; Nakamba, McGinn, Traore, Barkley, Grealish; Watkins.

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