Its been a whirlwind of a season but on the majority, there aren’t too many bad things you can say about Aston Villa. The problem is, I am sure that fans of today’s opponents, Leicester City will feel exactly the same.
Whether we like to admit it or not, Leicester are in a position we want to be in. The only problem with that is Rome wasn’t built overnight. It takes time but there is no reason why in 2-3 seasons, with the backing we have at the club that we can’t be challenging for a top-four position.
Right now though, we are all but mathematically safe from relegation this season so we have to push on with no pressure and see how far we can go this season? I, like many other Villans, would love Europe but I wouldn’t be overly disappointed if we didn’t achieve it as long as we didn’t roll over and die for the remainder of the season.
Villa’s form isn’t great at the moment, winning and losing two of their last five. The high press performances have dropped off also. Clubs have started to double up on Jack Grealish and press high on Villa and we have struggled to deal with this. If we are going to progress, we need to learn to deal with this and find away around it just as all other top clubs would.
Leicester have lost just one in their last four and are still in Europe, having drawn with Slavia Prague on Thursday. Away games in Europe haven’t affected the Foxes too much this season having won two of three previous Premier League games following European trips.
There is an ugly rumour that Jack Grealish will be unavailable for today’s game through injury. Nothing has officially been confirmed yet but I would be surprised if he was named in Dean Smith’s starting XI today. If there is any truth, then the bigger question is how long will our captain be missing?
Villa have confirmed that Matty Cash will be out of action for around a month. The right-back picked up a hamstring injury in the goalless draw at Brighton last weekend. Ahmed Elmohammady is expected to replace him.
Kortney Hause is still off his feet but Villa are hopeful that will change in the next week or two. Wesley has stepped up his return after returning to training with his teammates, providing there are no knock backs, he will continue to step up his return.
Leicester are expected to welcome back Timothy Castagne (hamstring) and Ricardo Pereira (knee). Both sat out of the draw against Slavia Prague in mid-week but are expected to be available.
James Justin will be missing with an ACL injury. The full-back underwent surgery on Thursday.
Referee: Michael Oliver.
Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett. Fourth official: Robert Jones. VAR: David Coote. Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday.
DID YOU KNOW
Aston Villa have kept twelve clean sheets so far this season. This is the most they have ever achieved after twenty-two Premier League games.
If Villa are able to beat Leicester, it will be the first time they will have achieved the double over the Foxes since the 2003/04 campaign.
Brendan Rodgers has never lost a game at Villa Park in the Premier League. He has won all five of his games.
HOW TO FOLLOW
I CANNOT WATCH LIVE
Join fellow Villa supporters by discussing tonight’s game on our forum in our live match chat.
Aston Villa v Leicester City will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports Main Event.
I don’t expect Villa to be as bad as they have been in previous weeks but that doesn’t mean I expect a win. I can’t see Leicester pressing us as high as others have done so in recent weeks but they will look to exploit us on the counter-attack.
If Jack Grealish is out, it opens the door for someone else in the squad to make a claim for first-team football. They could give the rest of their teammates a massive boost. Equally, it could go the complete opposite way.
Aston Villa 1-2 Leicester City