I won’t say I was thrilled by the season or even satisfied. Far from it. But. I do think Villa have a real chance to make some telling strides this summer, and that the side will ultimately be better and deeper. And as Gerrard has seemingly shown a little more tactical flexibility down the stretch, I’m hopeful that we can see that depth used effectively.
Not much to say. Marv’s back and on the bench, Ings is back, too, so guessing we’re doing the 4-4-2 again. Usual suspects starting, make of that what you will.
Given Leeds’ precarious position, Bielsa’s demise comes as no real surprise and only made sense. And it will no doubt have a heavy influence on tonight’s game. Leeds desperately need something, and Jesse Marsch is convinced they’ll see the same Villa set-up that beat Brighton and Southampton. Can’t say I disagree.
His key to the game is bottling up Coutinho, of course, but that’s easier said than done if he’s on song and carries its own risks if it takes more than one player. It also means everyone else needs to help create space and options then do something with it.
Both Watkins and Ings will play, but with Coutinho in the front line, while Emi Buendia goes to the bench. Whether the two strikers are actually settling into the 10 slots or this portends a more flat 4-3-3, we’ll soon find out.
A week after that desultory loss to Newcastle, Steven Gerrard has indeed made changes. Ollie Watkins makes way for Danny Ings.