So, last time I did one of these articles I called for Gabby Agbonlahor and Tom Cleverley to be dropped. Then, Agbonlahor goes out and puts in his best performance of the year, which was lucky because Aston Villa needed it to get a very important win over West Bromwich Albion. Cleverley even had a decent game, and it looks like the team is starting to learn to play as one under new boss Tim Sherwood. The Claret and Blues enjoyed almost 59 percent of the ball against the Baggies on Tuesday, and we should be looking for more of the same come Saturday's rematch at Villa Park.
Let's hope the midfield and forwards are up to the task again, since six of the ten first team defenders will be missing. This doesn't offer much of a chance for squad rotation, and the question now, is will we see Matt Lowton at left or right back? He stormed forward to win the crucial penalty in the dying embers of the match, and his crossing was decent even though his right foot is clearly better than his left. For this reason, I'd keep him there and play Leandro Bacuna at right back. Ciaran Clark and Jores Okore will remain at both centre backs, and we will probably see Shay Given in for Brad Guzan between the sticks.
In the midfield though, there is a chance for squad rotation. Even though Charles N'Zogbia was decent from his position in the hole, I hope Carles Gil gets the chance to play there. Either him or Jack Grealish, if the formation stays the same. Maybe Carlos Sánchez gets a shot in defensive midfield and gives Ashley Westwood the day off? We could even see Joe Cole in some capacity, though probably only for a maximum of 45 minutes.
In attack, it wouldn't surprise anyone if Christian Benteke partnered Agbonlahor again. If it works, why try to fix it? Andi Weimann will probably come off the bench for Agbonlahor after 60 or so minutes, hopefully after the latter has tired out the defence. We could also see Scott Sinclair deployed as a secondary striker, or on the left if Sherwood goes back to the 4-3-3.
Seeing as Tony Pulis will probably be out for revenge, we're likely to see a first-choice eleven for West Brom. Unfortunately this means Saido Berahino, who proved again that he is very dangerous. However, he may elect to make a few changes to his team. One could be Boaz Myhill in for Ben Foster in goal after a disastrous performance on Tuesday. Another could be Victor Anichebe up top replacing Brown Ideye.
Possible starting lineups:
Aston Villa (4<4>2)
Shay Given; Leandro Bacuna, Jores Okore, Ciaran Clark, Matt Lowton; Carlos Sánchez, Tom Cleverley, Fabian Delph, Jack Grealish; Christian Benteke, Gabby Agbonlahor.
West Bromwich Albion (4-2-3-1)
Boaz Myhill; Andre Wisdom, Gareth McAuley, Joleon Lescott, Chris Brunt; Darren Fletcher, Youssuf Mulumbu; Callum McManaman, Saido Berahino, Craig Gardner; Victor Anichebe.
Would you stick with the diamond midfield if you were Sherwood? Any other changes? Let us know in the comments!
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