Aston Villa expected 4-2-3-1 v Tottenham: Two changes as AFCON kicks in
By Will Butcher
Steve Bruce is set to make two changes to his Aston Villa side ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup third-round tie clash against Tottenham on Sunday.
Bruce’s attacking options have been depleted after Jonathan Kodjia and Jordan Ayew jetted off to participate at the Africa Cup of Nations. Both players also missed Villa’s 1-0 loss to Cardiff on Monday.
Ashley Westwood and Mark Bunn are the two players that could sit out the cup tie against the Premier League opposition.
Midfielder Westwood has struggled to show the kind of form that made him a first-team regular during Villa’s Premier League days, while Bunn is set to be usurped by the new no.1 keeper.
New signing Sam Johnstone is likely to come straight into the side after putting pen to paper on a move from Manchester United, while Mile Jedinak is set to recover from illness.
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Johnstone is set to be relied upon as the man to solve Villa’s goalkeeping woes, after Pierluigi Gollini was dropped in favour of Bunn.
Bruce has provided a defensive consistency since his arrival at Villa Park, and the same four players could start against Spurs.
Nathan Baker and James Chester have struck a solid partnership at the back in recent games, as £3million summer signing Tommy Elphick may have to contend with a view from the bench.
Scotland international Alan Hutton is likely to face his old side while Jordan Amavi hopes to impress against Tottenham’s free-scoring attack on Sunday after a shaky display against Leeds.
Australia captain Jedinak should return from illness to partner Gary Gardner, while versatile ace Leandro Bacuna could worry either Ben Davies or Danny Rose on Spurs’ left flank.
In the absence of Ayew and Kodjia, Grealish is likely to sit behind Ross McCormack who is yet to hit the heights that his £12million move had promised. Ex-Middlesbrough speed merchant Albert Adomah could be relied upon to provide Villa’s creativity from the right flank.
In other Aston Villa news, Wolves have been priced out of a move for this 30-year-old star.