It has been an underwhelming start to the season to say the least. Many fans expected us to be competing at the other end of the table after eight games. However, all is not doom and gloom at Villa; our performances have merited more points than we have got and we just need that one special moment to transform our season. One way I believe that we can do that is if we start playing with out-and-out wingers, enabling us to be more prolific.
Without question, we have the best strike force in the league. It goes without saying that Ross McCormack, Rudy Gestede and Jonathan Kodjia are all proven goal-scorers at this level. If we give them the required service, they will score. So far this season, we have had an average of 14.3 shots per game. Only Bristol City, Barnsley and Brighton and Hove Albion have had more. Despite it seeming as if we are creating enough chances but are being wasteful, this is not the case. Against Ipswich Town, there were a number of times when we had hopeful shots from the edge of the area and, frustratingly, they kept getting blocked. We need to find another path to goal rather than just hitting and hoping for the best as we have done so this season.
Despite being deployed on the flanks, Jordan Ayew and Jack Grealish are not true wingers. They can definitely put in a good performance there but that is not a preferred position, especially for Ayew. Too often, our play is narrow and has a lack of structure. When they get the ball, others simply wait for them to produce a moment of magic.
Although they might be capable of such feats, we can’t keep relying on them to do this. We need to stop standing there statically. We have to move and play as a team. The best way I think we can do this if we start playing with real wingers. Rarely this season have we witnessed someone getting to the by-line and whipping in a cross for our potent attackers. If we do this more often, the goals will inevitably come and the three points will follow.
Albert Adomah can be the answer to these problems. He will be an invaluable asset to the team as he returns from injury. He will, with a bit of luck, be the piece to the jigsaw that we are crying out for. His direct and speedy approach will haunt defences and he can provide the much needed service to Kodjia, McCormack and Gestede. We also have the promising André Green who can also perform a similar role and start creating the chances our strikers need in order to score the goals to propel us to promotion.
If this means that Jordan Ayew drops to the bench or plays more centrally (especially if McCormack is still injured) then so be it. If we play with Adomah or Green, we will start to stretch defences. This will create more space for our central players to influence the game and we will add to our tally of eight goals and hopefully our points tally too.