Dean Smith could make one change to Aston Villa’s starting XI as his side take on Premier League champions Manchester City at the Etihad on Saturday.

Summer signing Douglas Luiz, who didn’t start the 2-1 win against Brighton last time out, might return to the starting XI to add more defensive bite to the midfield.

This is a game that Villa aren’t expected to get anything from, so it is a bit of a free hit for the players who will be facing their biggest test of the season.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Against Brighton, whilst Villa recorded a last-minute winner, the manner in which Brighton were opening up Villa’s midfield should be concerning to Smith ahead of this match.

Therefore, dropping Conor Hourihane to the bench and replacing him with Luiz, who joined from Man City in the summer, is perhaps the best way forward.

Elsewhere, the other talking points would be whether or not to keep Wesley up top. Whilst he has four goals to his name, he did struggle against Brighton, and there are calls for Keinan Davis to start.

But, the big-money summer signing is still learning and deserves a crack at one of the best teams in Europe, at this moment in time.

Although Villa’s defence is still conceding, it should still remain the same because Smith needs his backline to be settled and allow the players at the back to learn from their mistakes.

Here is how Villa could line up against the Premier League champions at the weekend:

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