Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Predicted Aston Villa team to face Watford: Steven Gerrard to spring surprise in final third

Steven Gerrard, Aston Villa, February 2022.

Despite a tough game last time out, the predicted Aston Villa team to face Watford this weekend should be a strong one yet again.

Villa had Newcastle’s backs against the wall for much of their last fixture. However, the Magpies managed to hold on, coming away with a 1-0 victory.

The game prior, Villa scored three times, but let a two-goal lead slip to draw 3-3 with Leeds United.

Steven Gerrard’s side have won just one of their last seven in all competitions.

Clearly, the manager wants his side to fight in every game and turn their surprisingly poor form around if his latest press conference is anything to go by.

“We’ve spoken to the group about the stage of the season that we’re at,” said Gerrard. “We’ve got teams who are below us and maybe not in the best of form, but they’re going to fight for every single point.

“If we don’t hit a certain level when it comes to desire, commitment and grit, we’ll have some issues.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how we come out of the blocks tomorrow. We’ve told them there needs to be certain ingredients to our performance before our talent can come into the game.”

Last time out – Newcastle 1-0 Aston Villa

Ever-present Emi Martinez started in goal, with Calum Chambers making his full debut alongside Tyrone Mings.

In-form Jacob Ramsey and Philippe Coutinho both started, though their link up was not as strong as games prior.

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Ollie Watkins started up top, and had a goal narrowly chalked off for offside. The English striker has come in for criticism in recent weeks with the more potent threat of Danny Ings rooted to the bench.

Emi Buendia continued in the three-man attack, featuring in his 21st league game of the season.

Predicted Aston Villa team against Watford

Martinez will no doubt remain in goal, with Chambers and Mings the central defenders. Lucas Digne and Matty Cash will flank the pair.

Ramsey and John McGinn could start again, and Morgan Sanson could replace the off-form Douglas Luiz.

The two wing positions may well be filled by Coutinho and Buendia, but a surprise could be sprung with Ings replacing Watkins who has not scored in his last five league matches.

Predicted Aston Villa XI: Martinez; Cash, Chambers, Mings, Digne; McGinn, Sanson, Ramsey; Buendia, Ings, Coutinho