Can you believe the start of the new football season is less than 2 weeks away! Like many of you, I am feeling excited and hopeful that Villa can escape the Championship at the first time of asking.

Whilst we patiently wait, I thought I would put together a couple of blogs over the next few days to try and work out the best starting lineup. Let me know your thoughts and opinions from on Facebook, Twitter and comments below. All we be taken into consideration before presenting to you the most popular starting 11. We all know that there is still business to be done and  I’m personally hoping more outs than ins, so in deciding our first choice keeper and back four, the choices are based on who is currently still at the club at this time.

Keeper: Gollini

Believe it or not, Villa have 4 keepers to choose from. Though, it is widely expected that Brad Guzan will leave before the end of the week. I think this decision has already been made and that Gollini will be our first choice keeper. Bunn didn’t do too much wrong last season but he is still, im my opinion, just average. Steer impressed out on loan and I expect him to be pushing for a recall.

Back four: Bennett, Okore, Elphick, Hutton

I have gone with a simple 4-4-2 to pick the team here. The big surprise being Bennett over Amavi. Remember that this selection is only to start the season. Bennett has good Championship experience, he has matured much of last season out on loan at Sheffield Wednesday and also impressed in preseason. For competition of places I really want to see him and Amavi battle it out and keep each other honest. Bennett gets the nod from me but this is only based on Amavi not being fully fit yet.

Right back is certainly an area I think Villa should invest in. I am not a fan or Richards and if reports are anything to go by, £5 million release clause in his contract, I will let him go for half that. No doubt that Richards will be a big earner. If we let him go, I would like to see the fee reinvested for another right back. Hutton is the logical choice here. I think for now he has the experience and will do the job.

Elphick has no doubt been recruited by Di Matteo to lead the back line and I believe there is a chance he could also be made captain. The question is, who partners him? Baker had a good spell out on loan last season and has championship experience. Whilst Clark has always done a job there. For me Okore is a no brainer. If he can keep fit and show his hunger, then his quality will place him in the starting line up over anyone else. Reports have also come in stating Clark is a target for West Brom. Again, if the reported fee of £5 million is correct, I really feel this could be good business and the money reinvested into the squad.

Let me know your thoughts and stay tuned for later in the week when we move on to the midfield.