‘Controversial’ benching as Unai Emery performs midfield reshuffle - Aston Villa predicted XI vs LOSC Lille

Predicting Unai Emery’s Aston Villa lineup to take on LOSC Lille in the second leg of the Europa Conference League quarter-final.

Aston Villa have one foot in the UEFA Europa Conference League semi-finals but the job’s not done yet as the quarter-final second leg against LOSC Lille awaits this Thursday.

Unai Emery and his men, buoyant with confidence following the tremendous 2-0 victory away at Arsenal, hold a 2-1 aggregate lead ahead of the trip to northern France. But as the 3-3 draw against Brentford brutally proved, merely two or three lapses in concentration can entirely change the complexion of an encounter.

The Villans must maintain perfect focus at Stade Pierre Mauroy - the 50,186-seater home of Lille - to maintain their slender advantage. Doing so will be an incredibly tough task as Los Douges have lost just once on home soil all season – and that was all the way back in late September against Will Still’s Stade de Reims.

Although the fixture congestion is mounting, Emery isn’t one for excuses and he’s expected to name as strong of a lineup as possible for Thursday’s late afternoon kick-off. With that in mind, including a midfield reshuffle and the controversial dropping of an attacker, here’s the starting XI we predict will be named for the crunch clash in Lille.

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