‘ Marcelo Bielsa changed it ‘- the Polish take on Mateusz Klich, the man who graffiti and crosses walls for Leeds United
Villa is difficult to read so far this season On the one hand, they played two struggling teams at Fulham and Sheffield United But on the other, they beat Liverpool by a considerable margin and overtook Leicester City
Under Dean Smith, Villa tended to play some variation on a 4-3-3 formation, although with the arrival of Ross Barkley it seems to have turned into something closer to a 4-2-3-1 which becomes a 4-4-2 out of possession
The focal point of their attack is England international Jack Grealish and a big part of Leeds’ task on Friday will be to keep him silent
Under Smith’s tenure, Villa tended to attack too much, leading to defensive fragility at times. To counter this, Smith likes to bring his wide players in the top three to descend deep alongside midfielder three to form a situational 4-5-1 in a mid-block (with his team only really engaging the opposition once they hit the midline) This can leave forward, Ollie Watkins, a bit isolated Now that Ross Barkley is an option, Smith used him as 10 and fended off John McGinn alongside Douglas Costa in a midfield couple During the game, watch if Barkley press alongside Watkins and keep an eye on Villa’s midfielder form
Villa can press down on the ground in some situations However, once their high pressure fails, they will quickly fall back into an intermediate block This will see them adopt either two lines of fours or a line of four and five, and maintain a zonal structure while waiting for Leeds to move the ball into their half. They will then put pressure on the ball carrier, making sure to retain their form Although Villa doesn’t go down as deep as Wolves, play will depend on Leeds’ ability to navigate that middle block.
Over the past few seasons, Smith has played Jack Grealish as an 8, lining him up slightly deeper and using his depth play With McGinn and Costa at his disposal now, Smith has moved Grealish to a wide left spot. in the top three where he seeks to pick up the ball and enter the box With the Leeds injury crisis it’s unclear who will be tasked with scoring Villa talisman Kalvin Phillips silenced him two seasons ago But with Phillips absent and Grealish redeployed, either Luke Ayling or Stuart Dallas will likely be responsible If they can keep Grealish silent, Leeds will blunt Villa attack
Jon MacKenzie runs All Stats Arn’t We, a Leeds United media channel that focuses on the tactical and statistical aspects of the game
Aston Villa FC, Dean Smith, Premier League, Ross Barkley, Chelsea FC
World news – GB – Keep an eye out for Dean Smith Villa midfielder as he waits for pounce on Leeds
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