Leon Bailey to be axed by Unai Emery as Aston Villa team news v Brighton predicted
We’re delighted to welcome former Aston Villa full-back Alan Hutton as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Villa Park…
Alan Hutton believes Unai Emery could drop Leon Bailey from the Aston Villa starting line-up for Sunday’s Premier League finale against Brighton at Villa Park.
Villa go into the game seventh in the table, meaning it’s in their hands to qualify for the 2023/24 Europa Conference League.
However, Tottenham play relegation-threatened Leeds United are just one point behind the Villans in eighth while Brentford in ninth could still pip Villa to seventh if they secure an unlikely win against champions Manchester City and other results go their way.
Villa know they just need to win to return to European football for the first time since the 2010/11 season and while Hutton doesn’t see Emery going too mad with changing his starting line-up, he does think that Bailey, 25, could miss out despite starting at Liverpool last time out.
“From what I’ve seen so far, Emery doesn’t make too many changes unless he needs to,” Hutton told Villa News.
“He might make one or two, Bailey might drop out and someone else might come in.
“He doesn’t make wholesale changes so I don’t see the reason to do that.
“He’s been happy with the centre-back pairing, the midfield and Ollie Watkins and Emi Buendia. There might be the odd [change] but it’s a huge game.
“Brighton will want to win as well despite already qualifying for the Europa League and Villa want that European place.
“Tottenham are a point behind but have got a difficult game against Leeds, who are fighting for their lives. That score could be anything.
“It’s in their own hands so Villa need to go and get the result, they’re at home so it’s a great opportunity to nail a European position, which would be an unbelievable achievement.”
Bailey has played 35 times in all competitions for Aston Villa this season, scoring five goals and supplying four assists in the process.
However, he hasn’t completed 90 minutes of a Premier League game since a goalscoring display in the 2-1 win against Leeds in January.
In other Aston Villa news, the club has been told to sign a new striker amid Ollie Watkins’ ongoing situation at Villa Park.