Aston Villa have been given a boost ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Middlesbrough, with Dean Smith confirming that Anwar El Ghazi will be fit to face the North-East outfit. El Ghazi came off with an arm injury in Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest and was a doubt ahead of the weekend clash.
However, the 23-year-old has been given the green light to play by his manager and could be in line to start at Villa Park. Smith said in Friday’s pre-match press conference: “Anwar’s arm got trodden on accidentally in the game at the City Ground. He was in a bit of pain. But he’s available for selection, certainly.”
El Ghazi has been a regular in the starting lineup this season, making 25 appearances in all competitions, scoring and creating seven goals. He’s made 24 chances, 24 successful dribbles (53%) and has whipped in 107 crosses with 22% accuracy.
He’s struggled for consistency at times but retains Dean Smith’s trust. The Netherlands international has missed only one league game since November and should start on Saturday. Andre Green could also keep his place in the side, meaning Albert Adomah could stay on the bench.
Villa could move into the playoffs if results go their way over the weekend. The Midlands outfit have turned their form around in recent weeks with three consecutive wins over Derby County, Birmingham City and Forest most recently and are favourites to dispatch of Boro.