Sanson starts, 46-cap gem recalled as Smith makes big calls: Predicted Aston Villa XI – opinion


After sealing a Premier League double over Arsenal last time out, Aston Villa make the trip to Brighton on Saturday evening looking to stay in the hunt for a European place next season.

Dean Smith’s side came out as 1-0 winners over the Gunners thanks to a goal from Ollie Watkins, and face a Brighton team coming off the back of a FA Cup exit in mid-week to Leicester.

Smith is unlikely to ring the changes again for the game at the Amex, but he could look to bring in a couple of familiar faces in a bid to just keep things freshened up.

And with that in mind, below is a look at how Villa might line up for when they take on Graham Potter’s men.

In goal, Emiliano Martinez will be hoping to add to his impressive tally of 11 Premier League clean sheets this season after securing one against his former side last week.

In front of him, the back-four should remain unchanged, with both Matt Targett and Tyrone Mings in particular absolutely outstanding in the victory over the Gunners.

The midfield could see a couple of changes however, with Morgan Sanson surely now pushing for his first start in the Premier League for his new side.

If the Frenchman comes into the team, he could be joined by the £24.3m-rated Douglas Luiz who was given a breather by Smith last weekend – that could see both John McGinn and Marvelous Nakamba drop to the bench.

And while Jack Grealish, Ross Barkley and Ollie Watkins should keep their places further forward, the 46-cap Trezeguet could come into the team after dropping out of the starting line-up since picking up that injury back in December.

Predicted XI: Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; Luiz, Sanson; Trezeguet, Barkley, Grealish; Watkins.


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