Aston Villa have endured a torrid time in the Premier League so far this season and it doesn’t get any easier with trips to both Arsenal and Manchester City rapidly approaching.
They have managed to pick up just one victory in the league from a possible five and Monday night’s 0-0 stalemate with West Ham United only highlighted the problems Dean Smith has to deal with.
Villa still struggled to take a strong grip on the match when Arthur Masuaku was sent off with 23 minutes remaining.
The biggest problem has to be in attack considering the west Midlands club are tied first for the highest number of clean sheets so far this season with two.
Their wingers are yet to really get off the mark, picking up just a single goal and assist between the three of them, so maybe it is time to ditch them altogether.
Here’s an alternative look at how Smith should line up this season, removing the width and instead focusing on a narrow solution.
The most significant change is the difference in formation, but the back five should remain as it is – with the addition of Matt Targett once he has recovered from injury.
A lack of width could well become a problem, but not if the full-backs get up the pitch and the likes of Jota and Jack Grealish are given a free role in attacking midfield, which would allow them to drift wide if need be.
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We’ve previously highlighted why Marvelous Nakamba is the ideal man to anchor the midfield and his performance against the Hammers further strengthened that claim, earning a WhoScored rating of 7.35 after recording a 100% tackle success rate and dribble rate.
Conor Hourihane could come back into the starting lineup having done no wrong against Tottenham Hotspur recording a rating of 7.06, and he’s able to sit deeper if John McGinn wanted to join the attack too.
Wesley is the only decent striking option until January at the very least so he will have to suffice for the time being.
Something needs to change at Villa as the current system clearly isn’t working in the Premier League.