‘Powerhouse’ benched as Emery makes Nicolo Zaniolo call - Aston Villa predicted XI v Hibernian - gallery
Aston Villa begin their long-awaited UEFA Europa Conference League campaign on Wednesday evening as they travel to Edinburgh to take on Scottish Premiership side Hibernian in the first leg of the play-off stage.
Kicking off at Easter Road in the unusual 5.45pm slot to avoid clashing with the UEFA Champions League fixtures, the Villans will be eager to earn a lead heading into the second leg at Villa Park next Thursday.
Unai Emery’s side will be brimming with renewed confidence after responding to the 5-1 defeat at Newcastle United with a 4-0 victory over Everton last time out, while captain John McGinn will be excited to take on his former club.
The Scotland international midfielder is bound to start his reunion match but other positions aren’t so secure following injuries suffered at the weekend and the potential for slight rotation given the mounting fixture congestion.
With that in mind, here are the 11 players we think Emery will name in his starting lineup, as well as brief explanations for each inclusion.