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Villama Preview: Aston Villa v Brentford

Hope springs eternal as Aaron Danks leads Aston Villa against Brentford manager and Aston Villa candidate, Thomas Frank. Changes are promised with the departure of Steven Gerrard, but will a new system be enough to take out the Bees?

Right now feels a little like the “This is fine” meme, but I lean on the glass half full side for the time being. Headway is being made in some sense and is hopeful to continue, never mind what happened with the 3-0 loss to Fulham. Reports late Saturday from Matt Law and James Percy with the Telegraph indicated that we’re likely to see a very different look for the Villa, with John McGinn to be dropped for Brentford, so things should certainly be interesting if nothing else. The Bees have been symmetrical in their record over the last three, with a 5-1 loss to Newcastle at St. James’ Park, a 2-0 win over Brighton at The Brentford Community Stadium, and a 0-0 draw with Chelsea at home as well. Players to look out for from the Bees include striker Ivan Toney, midfielder Mathias Jensen, and defender Ben Mee.

For Aston Villa, this could be any number of things, but it’s unlikely to be a narrow 4-3-3. Caretaker manager Aaron Danks, per Percy and Law, is opting against a continuation of Gerrard’s preferred system. Where does that leave us with in terms of formation and starters? Aside from McGinn and Jacob Ramsey sitting, it’s a guessing game. If I were to line things up, I’d opt for a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1. Given the lack of McGinn or Ramsey, it seems like we may be in for a two man midfield. Emi Martinez continues in goal, with Ashley Young and Matty Cash playing left and right-back. The center-back partnership of Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa gets a shakeup, with Calum Chambers in for Konsa. In the midfield, Leander Dendoncker plays in the number six position, with Douglas Luiz as the eight. To their left would have been Jacob Ramsey, but alas. In his place, it’s Leon Bailey, with Emi Buendia playing on the right. At striker, I’d like to go with an Ollie Watkins and Cameron Archer partnership, but I’m uncertain of Archer’s injury situation. That being the case, it’s Watkins and Danny Ings up front. You could also swap out Ings for Coutinho and play a 4-2-3-1 and I wouldn’t be against it. Aside from starters, it would be nice to see guys like Morgan Sanson and Marvelous Nakamba getting some time on the pitch.

: It’s tough to gage what to expect out of this one. The talent to win is there, but it’s hard to win when you don’t have your bearings. Villa have had trouble defending with a two man midfield in the past and I’m a little skittish about it, so Sunday could be hard fought. A 1-1 draw, given the circumstances, would be a decent enough result.

Aston Villa v Burnley - Premier League - Villa Park
With rumoured changes set to be made to the starting lineup against Brentford, can Aaron Danks help get Villa back on the right track?
Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images