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Villa XI vs Leicester predicted – Gerrard forced into change

Aston Villa host Leicester City at Villa Park today off the back of a spirited display against Premier League champions Manchester City on Wednesday night.

Steven Gerrard’s side were beaten 2-1 by City, but impressed in a second half showing which nearly saw the hosts stage an improbable comeback after falling two goals behind after the first 45 minutes.

Goals from Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva put the away side in command at half time, before Ollie Watkins’ early second half reply halved their advantage.

Ezri Konsa and Carney Chukwuemeka both squandered big chances to take at least a point from the game, but Gerrard was pleased with his side’s ‘terrific’ performance despite the defeat.

Ahead of his fourth game in charge of Villa this weekend, as Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes make the short trip across the Midlands on Sunday afternoon, Gerrard has a few selection dilemmas.

Jamaica international Leon Bailey has been ruled out due to an injury which he sustained in the defeat against City, while long-term absentees Bertrand Traore and Trezeguet are also unavailable.

Midfielder Morgan Sanson made his first Premier League appearance for seven months on Wednesday evening, when he came on as a substitute and could feature against Leicester on Sunday.

Elsewhere, youngster Jacob Ramsey should be able to overcome a niggle which saw him rested on the bench for the visit of the league champions in midweek, as Brazil international Douglas Luiz took his place in the starting XI.

But considering Leicester’s leaky defence this season, Gerrard will smell blood and urge his side to take the game to their out of sorts visitors. Only relegation-threatened Newcastle United, Norwich City and Watford have shipped more than the 25 goals Rodgers’ side have conceded so far this campaign.

With that being said, Gerrard could opt to hand Luiz successive starts considering his impressive performance against his former side on Wednesday night. But if fit, Ramsey is likely to get the nod against a Leicester midfield who have struggled to protect their defence this term.

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Villa’s five man defence, including Emi Martinez, could be broken up if Matt Targett fails a late fitness test due to a head injury that he sustained in midweek.

In attack, without Bailey, Emi Buendia looks certain to start on the right of a front three which Ollie Watkins is likely to lead.

On the left, Anwar El Ghazi could start his first game under Gerrard while the new Villa boss is keen to rotate his forward options.

Predicted Aston Villa line-up vs Leicester City

Aston Villa predicted XI vs Leicester (4-3-3) : Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Young; Nakamba, J. Ramsey, McGinn; El Ghazi, Watkins, Buendia.

Squad from: Steer, Tuanzebe, Hause, Targett, Sanson, Douglas Luiz, Young, Chukwuemeka, Davis, Archer, Philogene-Bidace, Vassilev.

Injured: Bailey (thigh), Traore (thigh), Trezeguet (knee).

Card count: Mings and McGinn are both one yellow card away from an automatic one-match suspension.

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