By Villa News Speaking to Alan Hutton

5th Oct, 2023 | 11:10am

Aston Villa early team news v Zrinjski - Two changes predicted after Unai Emery surprise

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 predicts Unai Emery will make up to two changes to his starting line-up for Aston Villa versus Zrinjski on Thursday.

Villa lost their opening Europa Conference League group game to Legia Warsaw last month after Emery made wholesale changes to his usual starting side in the Premier League.

Despite that setback, Villa have bounced back to winning ways and on Saturday (30 September) they thrashed Brighton 6-1 at Villa Park.

Croatian side Zrinjski will head to B6 this Thursday (5 October) in what, on paper, should be the easiest tie in Group E for the Premier League club.

Hutton predicts Emery may go a bit stronger with his side and only make a small number of changes from the one that hammered Brighton.

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“It’s an interesting one because, for the Legia game, Emery did make changes,” Hutton told Villa News.

I was surprised by how many he made. The last time they were in European competition was a long time ago.

He made changes for the midweek game against Everton and then went back to his strongest team against Brighton and now they’re playing a team at home who I have no idea what they’ll bring to the table.

I’m sure Villa will have done their homework on Zrinjski but I think we will still see changes.

“Emery will think his squad is good enough and be able to rotate for a home game in the Conference League. I expect one or two changes.”

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