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Predicted Aston Villa XI to face Stoke in EFL Cup Round of 16 clash

Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Aston Villa

Predicted Aston Villa XI to face Stoke in EFL Cup Round of 16 clash

Aston Villa are looking to continue their fine start to 2020/21 by beating Stoke City to book their place in the last eight of the EFL Cup.

Dean Smith’s team have been something of a force in the new season so far, winning all four of their games and scoring 10 goals in the process.

Perhaps most pleasingly for the manager, the team have conceded just the one goal against Burton Albion.

(Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

Standing in the way of a place in the EFL Cup quarter-finals is Championship outfit Stoke, who dumped Wolves out in the last round.

Smith may not want to tinker too much, but he has to bear in mind the threats posed by Stoke, meaning he could field one of two more experienced players.

Jed Steer will probably continue between the sticks to give Emi Martinez the night off, and he could be protected by a defence of Frederic Guilbert, Kortney Hause, Tyrone Mings and Neil Taylor.

£40,000-a-week Guilbert (Spotrac), who has been linked with an exit from the club, played against Bristol City and could get the nod as part of a possible ‘shop window’ tactic by Smith.

(Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

Mings may be brought in for this one at the expense of Ahmed Elmohamady,33, just to solidify things a little.

 

New loan signing Ross Barkley is cup-tied, but the midfield trio of Josh Ramsey, Marvelous Nakamba and Henri Lansbury has worked well in the competition so far and doesn’t need to be touched anyway.

Ollie Watkins could be preferred to Keinan Davis up top despite failing to score against Fulham. He was extremely lively against the Cottagers and Smith may wish to give him the opportunity to keep his momentum going after goals against Burton and Bristol City.

He could receive support from Bertrand Traore and Anwar El Ghazi on the wings.

Traore played just six minutes against Fulham and will be raring to go after his stunning volley last week.

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