There really isn’t much news surrounding Aston Villa this week so let’s take a look at how Villa could potentially line up against Crystal Palace. As we know, Sherwood doesn’t like to alter his side often, we’ve seen this last season and a bit this season. But very often, when Aston Villa lose a game, Sherwood will slightly change his side. Being away I expect Sherwood to play a 4-3-3 again. In defence, I expect no real changes, despite the fact I reckon that Hutton is better than Bacuna at right-back. We will be seeing Bacuna play at right back against Crystal Palace. I expect for that to remain until Villa’s League Cup game against Notts County. Whilst Richards, Clark, Amavi and Guzan have all done very well for Villa so far.
In midfield we might see some changes. The key news is the recent arrival of Traore and the return of both Grealish and Gil to the first team side. As stated previously I expect Grealish to start, with Traore and/or Gil coming off the bench, with Traore being more likely to make a substitute appearance. The midfield trio will most likely consist of Veretout, Westwood and Gana. However if I was manager I’d put Sanchez in the middle of midfield with Westwood and Gana either side of Sanchez. Being away I think it would benefit the Villa midfield to have more of a defensive midfielder in the middle. Veretout will need time to adapt and will be better suited to play against Notts County. The game against Crystal Palace is a game where we can pick up 3 points and playing more experience in midfield will benefit us more. As things stand I feel as though Sanchez offers more to Villa’s midfield than Veretout. Plus Veretout was brought in primarily for more creativity, which can be replaced by Grealish.
The Villa front 3 needs to be changed. Agbonlahor has been heavily criticised in recent weeks and should be benched, it just doesn’t make sense to not start a forward who has scored a goal for Villa and playing less than 90 minutes of football. Gestede will (and should) start up front against Crystal Palace. Once their defenders get tired, Agbonlahor can come off the bench and hopefully make a greater impact. The dilemma lies in the wingers. Sinclair, Grealish and Agbonlahor can all play out wide on the left. I thought Sinclair played well out wide and should keep his place, but would Sherwood really deny Grealish a starting spot? Perhaps playing Grealish in behind Gestede would make greater sense? Jordan Ayew is in contention to start out wide on the right, but he is in a similar situation as Veretout. He’d benefit from starting against a lower league opposition and allow more experienced player to play against Crystal Palace.
That looks like a team that could snatch 3 points off of Crystal Palace. If substitutions are needed, Traore and Agbonlahor should come on during the game to add more attacking threat, especially in the case if Villa are a goal down to Crystal Palace. Whilst Veretout could also come on the pitch to add more stability should Villa need it.