Mings can help Aston Villa discover an unorthodox route to goal

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

Aston Villa confirmed the signing of Tyrone Mings at the start of the week, landing the central defender from Bournemouth as they captured their sixth acquisition of the window.

Mings arrives having helped the club achieve promotion last term, featuring 18 times in the Championship after initially arriving on loan.

However, after returning to the Cherries, he’s now back in the Midlands after making a permanent switch.

Winning three aerial duels and making 4.3 clearances per game, he was impressive in defence last term, but he could be inspiring in another way now he’s back at Villa Park.

On the chalkboard

The former Bournemouth man helped lead the club through a ten-match streak where they didn’t drop a single point last season and after previously failing to make an impact in the Premier League, finding game time restricted, he now has the perfect opportunity to flourish.

At Villa he became a key figure in Dean Smith’s team, yet there’s one specific statistic that could help him become an influence in the final third.

Last season, the 26-year-old played a massive 6.1 long balls, finishing the campaign with a pass success of 78.6%.

Of everyone in the Villa squad, that long ball stat is bettered only by Mark Bunn and Orjan Nyland. Meanwhile the two players directly below him are a further two goalkeepers in Jed Steer and Lovre Kalinic.

But by utilising his ability to play the ball forward at regular intervals, it could prove extremely beneficial for the attack.

This is mainly due to the aerial threat that another new signing in Wesley could bring.

In the Champions League last term he won 2.5 aerial duels per game whilst scoring five headers in total in all competitions, demonstrating his fantastic prowess when the ball is off the ground.

Therefore, Dean Smith could discover an unorthodox route to goal.

A tactic they could use is utilising Wesley as a target man, using Mings’ direct manner to thrust the ball forward.

As a result, the Villans could then have runners in behind, getting on the end of the Brazilian’s flick-ons or by offering him an option once he’s taken the ball down.

Although Villa were one of the best passing teams in the division last term, averaging 53.4% of possession, this could be a potential new method to use in the Premier League.