Leon Bailey axed, Ashley Young to return - Aston Villa predicted XI v Chelsea
Aston Villa face Chelsea on Saturday evening looking to leapfrog Graham Potter’s side in the Premier League table and continue their push towards the European places.
Unai Emery’s men head to Stamford Bridge (1 April) unbeaten in four matches and will be looking to replicate their dominant 3-0 victory over Bournemouth in their most recent fixture.
We don’t anticipate the Spaniard to make too many changes to his starting lineup, but there could be one or two surprise alterations.
Leon Bailey could well make way against the West Londoners. The 25-year-old attacker has attempted five shots in his last three appearances but zero per cent of them have been on target (Wyscout).
Jhon Duran has been lively off the bench and is averaging 5.45 shots per 90 minutes for the Villans. With an XG (expected goals) of 0.54, the Colombian is due to hit the back of the net soon.
Ollie Watkins will almost certainly start up front. The former Brentford man is in the form of his life and registered a 75 per cent shot accuracy during the win over the Cherries.
With Philippe Coutinho still out injured, Jacob Ramsey and Emi Buendia should start in the attacking midfield positions. Ramsey is fresh off of captaining England under-21s to an impressive 4-0 win over France.
With Boubacar Kamar still out, John McGinn will start in a defensive midfield position alongside Douglas Luiz. The Brazilian has been impeccable of late and won an impressive 70 per cent of his duels against Bournemouth, 20 per cent higher than his 2022/23 season average.
One other change we envisage comes in the right-back role. Ashley Young will likely come back into the starting eleven after Matty Cash sustained an injury on international duty with Poland. However, the veteran defender will have to improve from his last start against Manchester City where he failed to win any of his six defensive duels.
Diego Carlos is nearing a return, however, Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings should make up the central defensive partnership. Between them, the duo won 85.5 per cent of their duels against Bournemouth and have been the bedrock of Villa’s good form.
Alex Moreno should keep his place at left-back. The Spaniard has shown his attacking prowess in recent weeks and has averaged nearly four crosses per 90 minutes since moving to Villa Park.
Finally, we also anticipate Emi Martinez to keep his place in goal, with the Argentine looking for back-to-back clean sheets.
In other Aston Villa news, the club have been urged to cash in on Jaden Philogene amid European transfer interest in the rising star.