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Preview: Bristol City vs. Aston Villa - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's EFL Cup third-round tie between Bristol City and Aston Villa, including team news and predicted lineups.

Bristol City and Aston Villa do battle in the EFL Cup third round on Thursday evening having both put together 100% records since the beginning of the season.

The Robins have prevailed in each of their four matches in all competitions, while Villa have recently defeated Burton Albion and Sheffield United.

Match preview

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith pictured on July 21, 2020© Reuters

Villa have been far from perfect in their opening fixtures this season, needing late goals to overcome League One Burton and benefitting from a controversial red card against Sheffield United on Monday night.

Nevertheless, at a time when Villa are attempting to reach the EFL Cup final for a second successive year and establish themselves higher up the Premier League table, Dean Smith will not care one bit.

The West Midlands outfit found themselves playing catch-up for the majority of the last campaign, but an array of new signings have put the club on a different trajectory.

Villa have been further boosted by the contract renewals of Jack Grealish and Tyrone Mings, business which is arguably more crucial than their significant outlay in the transfer market.

With Fulham to follow next Monday, this feels like an important period for Smith and his players, who will be motivated to maintain their promising start to the season.

The same applies to Dean Holden and his Bristol City side after their victories over Coventry City and Stoke City in the Championship.

There were question marks over whether Holden was the right appointment for the Robins, especially when so many established names were linked with the post at Ashton Gate.

However, their brilliant 2-0 win away at Stoke on Sunday afternoon has left Bristol City as one of just three clubs who have started the new second-tier season with back-to-back victories.

In total, 10 goals have been scored during their four games in all competitions, strikes which have been shared between seven players in the squad.

Bristol City EFL Cup form: WW
Bristol City form (all competitions): WWWW

Aston Villa EFL Cup form: W
Aston Villa form (all competitions): WW

Team News

Bertrand Traore pictured for Lyon in March 2020© Reuters

Smith has already confirmed that new arrival Bertrand Traore will make his Villa debut on Thursday evening.

The former Lyon man will feature in a much-changed side which may see only Ezri Konsa and Conor Hourihane retain their places in the starting lineup.

Holden will also make major alternations to his Bristol City XI, which could include Chris Brunt being handed his first start since his summer move.

Antoine Semenyo should partner Famara Diedhiou in attack, while Fulham loanee Stephane Sessegnon may be provided with another run-out at wing-back.

Bristol City possible starting lineup:
Bentley; Vyner, Moore, Mawson; Sessegnon, Palmer, Brunt, Nagy, Eliasson; Semenyo, Diedhiou

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Steer; Elmohamady, Konsa, Hause, Taylor; Hourihane, Nakamba, Lansbury; Traore, Davis, El Ghazi

SM words green background

We say: Bristol City 1-2 Aston Villa

Although both managers will inevitably make changes, this should still prove to be a competitive encounter. While a penalty shootout may be required to settle this contest, do not be surprised if Villa end up prevailing by a narrow margin.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Aston Villa manager Dean Smith pictured on July 21, 2020
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Aston Villa season preview - predictions, fixtures, summer signings, starting XI

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