This week Martin Lewis has a scouting report on Aston Villa. This will not only be interesting for Aston Villa supporters but also Manchester United supporters before the big game on Sunday. In fact supporters of any club that are yet to play Aston Villa this season will find this in-depth tactical and statistical analysis a welcome read.
You can find Martin Lewis’ tactical report on Manchester United here: Manchester United Scouting Report – written a few weeks ago before the Manchester Derby 2013.
- Aston Villa are currently on a decent run of results, but will be motivated and will play with high intensity to try to pull away from the relegation zone.
- After the teams around them gaining positive results recently, they will be under intense pressure to get at least a point.
- Expect them to be intense in early stages of the game, but may become more nervous towards the end if there is only 1 goal in the game.
- They are a young, inexperienced team that is looking to become more consistent, with a balanced team and good offensive players, hoping to stay up this season to then progress with the experience gained this season.
- Team set up in a 4x2x3x1. The offensive 3 playing behind the striker [narrow] all brake lines and can penetrate depth with their runs [flick on’s] with great mobility & timing. Always try to play with good rhythm and tempo, especially in creation areas.
- Often the 3 display rotation between each other, with N’Zogbia often moving wide [allowing inside progression from the fullback on that side] and Agbonlahor/Weimann moving inside to become second strikers.
- Fullbacks both deep in build up, support late with delayed attacks [no natural width].
- In 1st phase [from goalkeeper] they look to go long and direct to the head of Benteke [flick on].
- Weimann/N’Zogbia/Agbonlahor will all break lines into the depth [to win the second ball from Benteke’s flick on] & will often create numerical superiority if the fullbacks don’t come inside to cover quick enough or the defensive line isn’t tight.
- The 2nd and 3rd phases pattern is often a mix between direct and short passes. Both centre backs are high, looking to use the fullbacks for verticality [usually ball up the line] and initiative. The centre backs will go long and high, or back to the goalkeeper if presses. Delph has a good short passing range [capable of vertical passes through lines], also displays progression on the ball.
- Look to get the ball to the strikers [feet, between lines] as soon as possible, then short layoffs.
- The 4th phase often results in crossing situations [often N’Zogbia on the left or Lowton on the right], with Benteke attacking 1st post/keeper, Agbonlahor attacking 1st post/penalty spot and Weimann attacking second post [fullback needs to be aware and anticipate the movement as he has very good timing].
- The team defend in a 4x4x1x1, medium block, deep defensive line [space between lines] with good numerical and defensive balance to block the opposition counter attacking in transitions.
- Often poor alignment from the defensive line.
- Poor spacing from left back after line breaks down right hand side
- Can exploit depth behind defenders [centre backs, especially, have slow turning speed] with the fullbacks often caught too deep.
- Poor inside cover from both fullbacks when centre back is draw in between lines [possibility to exploit, see example in the patterns sections].
- Initiative to press from midfield [central midfielders aggressive] but quick and short 1-2 combinations can be used to penetrate midfield line.
- Centre backs can be drawn high (usually 2/3rd phase, facing play).
- Run in front of centre backs in box (draw deep then quick turn) as they don’t have the mobility or reactions to then get into a position to win the ball.
- Fullbacks can track diagonal runs from wide players running inside [behind centre backs] into depth, leaving possibility long balls over to top to exploit and penetrate them.
- Try to play offside but poor timing & easy to exploit.
- Quick transitions dangerous, with progression on the ball from N’Zogbia and the other 3 offensive players moving inside to create overload in front of him.
- This is to stretch the opposition defensive line and force them to drop deep, allowing space for N’Zogbia space to progress on the ball. Upon pressure he will then release [inconsistent with final pass] the ball though behind the player that is pressing [important that fullbacks move inside to cover].
- Agbonlahor [into depth] and Delph’s [breaking lines from deep – match runs] mobility is also a big threat.
- Slow transitions from goalkeeper.
- Struggle to match central midfielders breaking lines, leaving space between the lines.
- Medium initial reaction, but easy to penetrate initial pressing line [now 4x2x4] down the wings. Very good numerical balance & a low-medium defensive line, where the fullbacks can get caught deeper than the centre backs [leaving space to exploit behind the centre backs].
- Space in front of fullbacks and centre backs in transitions, especially the fullbacks that are deep [with the wide players high] and struggle to get back to track their man [overload or draw fullbacks out, the exploit space created behind].
- Centre backs very aggressive, especially baker. He often dives in (fouls) with tackles that are often a little out of control.
- If the opponent doesn’t counter attack quickly initially and retains possession, they will drop to a 4x4x1x1 medium block, initiative to press from midfield.
First phase patterns
Second and Third phase patterns
Fourth phase pattern
Rotation of Weimann and N’Zogbia to allow inside progression from Lowton:
Exposing Westwoods lack of mobility [central midfielder breaking lines from deep
Exposing the fullbacks lack of cover when centre back is draw between lines:
£20 Wins You:
Exactly 4 goals in the game: £95
Rooney to score 1st: £90
Benteke to score 1st: £260
Weimann to score: £100
van Persie to score 2: £65