The International break is coming at a good time for Aston Villa. The defeat against Sheffield Wednesday the weekend was tired and lacking energy as Villa were comfortably beaten. I am going to focus on our wing situation in this article.
Robert Snodgrass and Albert Adomah have had promising starts to the season and made some important contributions, the Barnsley game aside, they have looked laboured in the last week or so. They aren’t the only ones judging by the performance on Saturday either but for the purpose of this article, we will focus on the wing. Adomah, in particular, has been an outstanding performer but I feel that sometimes they would benefit from giving defenders a different view sometimes.
The wing situation reminds me of Villa in the Martin O’Neill days. We all remember how well we played when we had Ashley Young playing on the left and Stewart Downing on the right. Both had the ability to get to the byline and put a ball in with their weaker foot but both preferred to come inside and put a cross in with their favoured foot. Yet, when matches were tight or defending was effective, the two occasionally switched sides onto their natural flank.
This is something I feel would have been useful against both Birmingham and Wednesday. In both games, neither player made particular in-roads down their flank but if they had swapped over it could have provided fresh impetus and something different to worry about for the opposition full-backs.
The biggest question facing Steve Bruce now appears to be what formation to play in home matches. Seeing the team take the game to the opposition at Villa Park is what us fans want to see and playing a 4-4-2 sets us up in an attacking format to be able to do so.
However, with Kodjia injured, the backup options are being exposed. Scott Hogan hasn’t hit the highs that we hoped he would after his transfer from Brentford and his inability to hold up the ball means he is easy to mark with a team that sit back and don’t give him any space.
The good news is that in Josh Onomah, Jack Grealish and Callum O’Hare, we have a surplus of attacking and creative midfielders who could play behind a lead striker if Kodjia gets injured again.
Bruce should look for alternative options on the wing though, especially when things aren’t going our way.