It’s all getting more than a bit nerve-wracking. Villa, while not cut adrift, find themselves needing the three points that West Ham and Watford have finally managed to secure since resuming play. Tonight, it’ll be a tall order getting them against United.
So, three games in, two points and two goals to show for it. Tension is running high, and supporters keep calling for a 4-4-2. Dean Smith responded ahead of Saturday’s clash with Wolves.
Following the loss to Chelsea, Villa go to St. James Park in what has become about as much of a must-win game as any match can be apart from a final-fixture showdown to avoid relegation.
Tactically, I understand the calls for 4-4-2. My guess is that Davis is starting in the 4-3-3 because Dean wants Villa to get established and settled. Get some confidence. A player like Ally is going to want quick through-balls, and players are going to try and feed him. While his upside is high, that kind of play always runs the risk of it coming right back at us, especially given the layoff and lack of sharpness. Going 4-4-2 with limited fitness means both are probably off late in the game, leaving Vassilev and Baston to chase a winner.
The focus for a while has been on Villa’s defending. Or lack thereof. Only Southampton and Norwich have conceded as many as us, and we’ve played two fewer. Likewise, goal difference leaves us pretty much in the same neighborhood as Bournemouth, Watford, and West Ham. So we score but we also ship 1.9 per match. Of course everyone wants to know why. What’s Terry doing? What’s Dean not getting right?