Aston Villa will be hoping that they can produce the ‘new manager bounce’ when Brighton visit Villa Park for Steven Gerrard’s first game in charge.
It’s always an interesting time for supporters when there’s a new face in the dugout. Some players will flourish under a new way of working but there will be also those that get cut adrift and soon fall out of favour.
Gerrard hasn’t had much time to assess his new squad in person ahead of the Seagulls match-up with many only returning from international duty over the last few days.
But, having said that, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he already has an idea in his head about the team he wants to play on Saturday.
Injuries dependent, this is the line-up I think the Liverpool legend may go for in his first game in charge.
Ironically, 4-3-3 is a formation many Villa fans have been crying out to be deployed more often this season and it appears to be Gerrard’s go-to.
The former England midfielder started 138 games out of 192 with a 4-3-3 in Scotland so it wouldn’t come as a shock if that’s how Villa line-up against Brighton.
It’s a formation that, on paper at least, appears to suit the claret & blue down to the ground. Dean Smith used it on a couple of occasions this year but often reverted back to his preferred 3/5 at the back. Don’t expect the new gaffer to do that.
GK - Emiliano Martinez
No prizes for guessing this one.
One of Villa’s most consistent performers this season - his position isn’t under threat.
RB - Matty Cash
Or Mateusz Gotowka as he is now known.
Another one of Villa’s better players this year and now recently capped by Poland.
Gerrard likes his full-backs to get forward and attack and he will be demanding a lot from Cash from here on out.
CB - Tyrone Mings
It would be a huge shock to see Mings not return to the line-up as captain under a new Head Coach and I assume he will be one of the first names on the team-sheet.
CB - Ezri Konsa
More difficult to choose Mings’ partner if he is to play four at the back.
Konsa, Tuanzebe and Hause can all play the position but I think Konsa will get the nod.
LB - Matt Targett
Targett is a player that by his own admission has had a rough season to date but with little competition at left-back his position should be safe for now.
As touched on above with Cash, Gerrard will be demanding much more from his full-backs and will certainly need more from Targett if he is to keep his spot come January.
CM - John McGinn
After a real positive start to the season, McGinn’s form has tailed off in recent weeks.
With that said, he’s a player that could flourish under new management and I think he will keep his place.
CM - Carney Chukwuemeka
The game will come too soon for both Douglas Luiz & Morgan Sanson according to Steven Gerrard which leaves him with a tough decision straight off the bat.
Marvelous Nakamba limped off on international duty with Zimbabwe but Gerrard gave no indication that he was unavailable, however, Chukwuemeka, who has impressed greatly during his time with the Young Lions - may get a chance to shine at Villa Park.
CAM - Jacob Ramsey
Like a young Jurgen Klopp, Gerrard demands his team to press high and with that, he’s going to need some energy in the middle - energy that Ramsey can provide.
The youngster was part of the England under-21 side in the recent international break and received the man-of-the-match award in just his second appearance as the young Lions beat Czech Republic 3-1.
Aston Villa’s official Instagram account tweeted their congratulations to which Gerrard replied with a little side eye emoji. The new manager was impressed and will be hoping for a similar performance against Brighton if he gives him the nod.
RW - Emiliano Buendia
Buendia has began to find a little form finally in the claret & blue and should thrive being played back in the position that attracted Villa to him in the first place.
He’s one player you’d argue needed a new manager to see the best of him, so here’s hoping it starts now.
ST - Ollie Watkins
If both Watkins and Danny Ings are fit, I still see Watkins getting the nod in this formation.
With Gerrard’s emphasis on pressing the opposition - Watkins is far better suited to the role.
LW - Leon Bailey
Back in his favoured position under the new manager, it’s time to see what Bailey is all about after this international break.
90 of his appearances have come at left-wing and that’s where he has seen his most success both providing goals and assists.
With the way Gerrard deploys his sides, it’s hard to see Bailey playing anywhere other than his preferred spot - which is good for everyone involved.
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