Aston Villa v Zrinjski Mostar predicted lineups – Watkins to partner Duran up top?

Aston Villa v Zrinjski Mostar predicted lineups ahead of this matchday two clash in the UEFA Conference League group stage. The hosts need a win to get their campaign back on track after a shock defeat in Warsaw.

Aston Villa v Zrinjski Mostar predicted lineups
Douglas Luiz (right) celebrates after scoring his sides sixth goal vs Brighton. Saturday September 30, 2023. – Photo by Icon sport

Aston Villa v Zrinjski Mostar UEFA Europa Conference League team news

Aston Villa are in good form in the league thanks to recent wins over Chelsea and Brighton. However some rotation is expected here, although Unai Emery won’t want to take too many risks with his team selection after defeat in Warsaw on matchday one.

Aston Villa

Preparations for this game have been hampered for the home team by injuries to Jacob Ramsey, Moussa Diaby and Boubacar Kamara. All three have been ruled out having all featured in the 6-1 win over Brighton at the weekend.

With long-term absentees Tyrone Mings and Emi Buendia also sidelined, Villa’s options for rotation are more limited but the likes of Diego Carlos, Tim Iroegbunam and Bertrand Traore are expected to feature in the matchday squad while Leon Bailey is back in training and could play some part.

Emery has rotated in each of the previous two midweeks but poor defeats against Legia Warsaw in the Conference League and Everton in the EFL Cup suggest he may not take so many chances with his lineup this Thursday and quite a strong eleven is likely.

Aston Villa predicted lineup

Martinez, Digne, Torres, Konsa, Cash, Tielemans, Luiz, Zaniolo, McGinn, Duran, Watkins

villa predicted lineups
Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins (left) celebrates scoring his third goal of the game vs Brighton on Saturday September 30, 2023. – Photo by Icon sport

Zrinjski Mostar

Zrinjski Mostar pulled off one of the great European comebacks a fortnight ago. Trailing 3-0 at the break at home to AZ, they remarkably fought back to win 4-3 in the club’s first ever European group stage match.

They’ve won all three league games since then to sit 4th in the Bosnian Premier League and should take confidence into their trip to Birmingham although they will be huge underdogs.

They have no major injury worries but three of their four goals against AZ were scored by substitutes which means Zvonimir Kozulj and Aldin Hrvanovic may both force their way into the eleven this Thursday.

Zrinjski Mostar typically play with a 4-3-3 system. However it’s possible they could make some changes and operate in a more defensive fashion here. They had just 27% of the possession in the win over the Eredivisie side and won’t expect to see much of the ball here either.

Zrinjski Mostar predicted lineup

Maric, Corluka, Jakovljevic, Radic, Memija, Ivancic, Balic, Kozulj, Cuze, Kis, Hrvanovic

Mostar predicted lineups
The players of HSK Zrinjski celebrate the 4-3 victory over AZ on September 21, 2023. ANP ED VAN DE POL – Photo by Icon sport

Aston Villa v Zrinjski Mostar predicted lineup – featured duel: Duran vs Jakovljevic

Aston Villa’s Colombian striker Jhon Duran is likely to rotate into the team again having started 3 of the club’s 4 cup ties so far this season. The youngster has scored some important goals, most notably an equaliser in the Premier League game with Crystal Palace as Villa came from 1-0 down to win 3-1.

He’ll certainly fancy his chances of adding to his goal tally here and could be set for a duel with Zrinjski Mostar centre-back Slobodan Jakovljevic.

At 34, Jakovljevic is at the other end of his career but he’s tall and physical and will compete with the powerful Duran. One tactic for the visitors may be to attempt to wind up the striker who has at times shown signs of having a hot temper and has made some rash challenges during the limited game-time he’s had.

Jhon Duran - Aston Villa
Jhon Duran of Aston Villa in Warsaw. (Photo by Mikolaj Barbanell / SOPA Images/Sipa USA) – Photo by Icon sport

Will Ollie Watkins play against Zrinjski Mostar?

Unai Emery has opted to rest Ollie Watkins in most of his team’s cup games until this point. However, fresh from a weekend hat-trick and with no Moussa Diaby, Watkins may be called upon from the start here to form a strike partnership with Duran.

Ollie Watkins
Ollie Watkins during the Premier League match at Villa Park on Saturday September 30, 2023. – Photo by Icon sport

Aston Villa v Zrinjski Mostar predicted lineup – The Final Word

Villa are clearly huge favourites for this game and they’ll want a fast start after falling behind in Warsaw a fortnight ago and only really settling into their rhythm in the closing stages. There is no margin for error here and we should see a much more professional performance from the hosts who should win the game comfortably.

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