Aston Villa expert names likely XI v Bournemouth as Leon Bailey starts
Gabby Agbonlahor wants Leon Bailey to start as Aston Villa face AFC Bournemouth in their opening Premier League fixture on Saturday (6 August).
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, Aston Villa’s record Premier League goalscorer and boyhood fan admitted Steven Gerrard may want Danny Ings to operate alongside Ollie Watkins and Philippe Coutinho up top.
Bailey managed just 16 Premier League appearances, including just two starts under Gerrard, during his first season at Villa Park.
He struggled with injuries in 2021-22 but has begun to refind his best form during pre-season.
As quoted by Birmingham Live on Friday (5 August), Gerrard revealed Emiliano Buendia, who will be assessed on Saturday morning, is the only doubt for the game with Bournemouth.
Asked how Villa should line up on the south coast, Agbonlahor told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “My starting XI would be [Emi] Martinez in goal.
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“Then I would have [Matty] Cash, [Tyrone] Mings and [Diego] Carlos with one right side and one left side fits – that fits perfectly. [Lucas] Digne at left-back.
“In centre-midfielder, I’d have [Boubacar] Kamara sitting with [Jacob] Ramsey and [John] McGinn in front.
“Then I would have, Gerrard might not play this formation, Bailey on one side, Coutinho on the opposite side with Watkins up front.
“Obviously Coutinho and Bailey as inside wingers, not fully wide.
“That’s what I’d play but I feel Gerrard might try and fit in Watkins and Ings for the first game maybe.”
Carlos and Kamara could make their competitive debuts for their club at the Vitality Stadium after summer moves from Sevilla and Marseille, respectively.
The club have also added Ludwig Augustinsson on loan from Sevilla during the transfer window.