By Amir Mir
Aston Villa are reportedly set to sack manager Roberto Di Matteo after just 122 days in charge, which could see numerous changes to the starting XI after the international break.
The Telegraph reported on Sunday morning that owner Tony Xia is set to reluctantly wield the axe on the Italian in the next 48 hours after Villa’s 2-0 loss to Preston on Saturday afternoon.
After the international break Villa take on local rivals Wolves, which could see a change in formation with the claret and blue club fielding an attacking 4-2-2-2 formation.
Striker Ross McCormack, who failed to make the starting XI in Di Matteo’s last two games, could lead the line alongside Jonathan Kodjia – the duo cost £23 million during the summer transfer window.
Despite having a plethora of attacking talent Villa have only scored 10 league goals in 11 games, and a new manager could be tempted to try two up front, a tactic Di Matteo has not tried.
Jack Grealish could start on the left with Jordan Ayew on the right, in a bid to supply more attacking force.
Villa also have the possibility of fielding midfield duo Mile Jedinak and Aaron Tshibola in the middle of the park, with experienced campaigner Ashley Westwood missing out.
Another major change that could be made is a new centre-back pairing of Nathan Baker and James Chester, with captain Tommy Elphick being pushed to the bench.
Villa have panicked in defence on a number of occasions this season and have conceded costly late goals in five of their 11 Championship games this term.
Other changes could see Micah Richards making his first start in the Villa starting XI, with Jordan Amavi being picked ahead of left-back Aly Cissokho.
In other Aston Villa team news, report details two leading candidates to replace Di Matteo as manager.