It is a crucial game this weekend against Southampton, with both sides looking for win number one of the new Premier League season.
We won this fixture last season and ended the game with nine men. It was an excellent team performance and we will need something similar today, as the atmosphere around the club could get poisonous if we go into the international break with four successive defeats.
Below we detail our predicted eleven:
Freddie Woodman – The academy graduate has started the season well and he will be happy following his first clean sheet of the season against Burnley. It has been a tough baptism for him, but he has done as best as he can.
Jacob Murphy – There are some worries about his defensive abilities, but he needs to be starting. His energy is needed in the team and he poses an attacking threat.
Fabian Schar – Without Shelvey, we need a ball playing defender and Schar can replace some of the progressive passing.
Jamaal Lascelles – He was very good against Burnley and his pace will be required against a nippy Southampton front two. The opposition pairing like to press, so Lascelles will need to be careful on the ball. His rushed clearance last week led to Villa’s opening goal. He will be targeted.
Federico Fernandez – Bruce will be wise to play the same back three as last week to try and build some understanding. Fernandez will be at risk in the coming weeks, but he will start against Southampton.
Matt Ritchie – His set piece delivery will be important as Southampton can struggle in this part of their defending. Jamal Lewis didn’t do enough in the week to displace him.
Sean Longstaff – Like Schar, his passing will be important without Shelvey in the team. He can inject pace into the build up play, which will be important if we are to beat their press. If Hayden fails a late fitness test, we think he’ll start.
Joe Willock – The new signing had a good second debut, showing good ball carrying ability in the middle of the park. He scored in this fixture last season.
Miguel Almiron – I hope to see Almiron get a freer role this weekend, as he was incredible in this fixture last season. He scored two and it was arguably his best display for us.
Allan Saint-Maximin – He is crucial and seems to play better in home matches. The Frenchman should have shaken off his knock to start this weekend.
Callum Wilson – The striker is the first name on the team sheet. He should have scored last weekend. Hopefully he is hungry to put that right against Southampton.
(5-3-2): Woodman – Murphy, Schar, Lascelles, Fernandez, Ritchie – S Longstaff, Willock, Almiron – Saint-Maximin, Wilson.