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Aston Villa predicted XI: 'Catalyst' drops to the bench as 'outstanding' star returns for Crystal Palace clash

Aston Villa were incredibly lucky to escape with a draw last time out versus Everton, however, now the side’s attention turns to their clash away to Crystal Palace.

The Villains are in the midst of a bit of a slump after their early season form which had them sitting in fifth place at the turn of the year. However, things have quickly gone south for Dean Smith’s side who are now sat firmly in midtable with European football distant dream.

Meanwhile, things have been far worse for the Eagles who are coming into the fixture with just one win from their last five Premier League fixtures.

In terms of team news, the Villains have welcomed back Jack Grealish, who is still not fit enough to start his first game since he got injured against Brighton and Hove Albion back in February. Meanwhile, Ollie Watkins returns from his one-game ban after receiving two yellow cards in the defeat to Manchester United, whilst Matty Cash could be out after suffering a recurrence of his hamstring injury.

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Reacting To My HITC Premier League 20/21 Predictions

With Cash a doubt, Ahmed El-Mohamady should come in alongside Ezri Konsa, Tyrone Mings, who was lucky to not see red against the Blues last time out, and Matt Targett who has enjoyed a great personal campaign.

Douglas Luiz and John McGinn have been the preferred partnership in midfield for much of the season and should retain their place bar disaster.

In attack, Anwar El Ghazi has been rewarded for his fine form with a call-up to the Netherlands’ provisional squad ahead of Euro 2020 and should start alongside Ross Barkley, with Grealish still not fit to start, and Bertrand Traore, who has been key in recent weeks.

With the ‘outstanding’ Watkins back from his suspension, he should take up the lone striker role from the ‘catalyst‘ Keinan Davies who struggled against Everton.

Aston Villa predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Martinez; El-Mohamady, Konsa, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Luiz; Traore, Barkley, El Ghazi

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