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Aston Villa will be raring to go in the UEFA Europa Conference League, as Unai Emery’s side kick off their European campaign with a trip to Poland to battle Legia Warsaw.
Kick off is due at 17:45 in the UK, with coverage available on TNT Sports, as The Stadion Wojska Polskiego plays host to the highly contested opening fixture of Group E.
Legia Warsaw vs Aston Villa predicted lineups and news
The two sides are joined by AZ Alkmaar and Zrinjski in the group, in a contest that Villa are the favourites in theoretically, given their rise to form in the Premier League. The Villans currently sit in 7th of the English top-flight, while Legia are settled in 3rd in the Ekstraklasa.
Thursday evening will mark the first time that the two club’s have met competitively, with Emery hoping to start his Conference League campaign with Villa strongly, given his reputation in European competition having won four Europa League titles in his managerial career.
Team news: Legia Warsaw
As touched upon, Legia are 3rd in the Polish league and remain unbeaten in their opening six games in the competition.
Kosta Runjaic’s side have conceded just three goals in the league, having won four and drawn two to start their 2023/24 campaign off to a strong start.
Despite being in-form in their homeland, Runjaic dubbed Thursday’s tie as ‘David versus Goliath’ with him being full of praise for Emery’s well-oiled side.
To get to the competition, Warsaw underwent the qualification rounds, sealing their place in the tournament by beating Midtjylland on penalties after an evenly contested two legs ended in a 4-4 aggregate score.
There are no injuries to report for Legia ahead of the match-up against Villa, with one player to watch for the Polish giants being Tomas Pekhart, who has already scored on eight occasions this campaign.
Legia Warsaw predicted lineup
Tobiasz; Ribeiro, Jedrzejczyk, Pankov; Wszolek, Elitim, Josue, Slisz, Kun; Muci, Pekhart
Team news: Aston Villa
Villa came to life following Emery’s arrival in October 2022, moving from 16th in the table to 7th by May, earning their place in Europe.
The Midlands side have won three and lost two of their opening five fixtures in the Premier League, winning most recently in the dying embers against Crystal Palace to secure three valuable points on their road to success.
Emery’s squad were far more assured in their qualifying tie against Hibernian, beating the Scottish outfit 8-0 on aggregate in an all British tie to advance to the finals.
It’s expected that the Spaniard will rotate his squad to adhere to the demands of the Premier League, with Youri Tielemans in for a shout to start as he continues to wait for his first league start for his new club.
The only injuries to report on for Villa are the long-term absences of Tyrone Mings and Emiliano Buendia, who suffered traumatic knee injuries just as the season commenced.
Aston Villa predicted lineup
Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Lenglet, Moreno; Tielemans, Kamara, McGinn; Bailey, Duran, Diaby
Will Jhon Duran start for Villa?
After scoring an emphatic goal against Crystal Palace last weekend, 19-year-old striker Jhon Duran will be hoping to start against Legia to showcase his ability to the manager.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) September 16, 2023
The Colombian has scored twice in the league already this campaign, and has also netted one in the Conference League, scoring in the second-leg against Hibs during Villa’s 3-0 win.
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