By Richard Wakefield
As each game passes by, Villa continue to slide down the table at an alarming rate. With a plethora of teams finding their feet in the Championship, all of our worse fears are playing out before us as Villa are being put at serious risk of being left behind the promotion pack.
With each draw being a nail in the coffin to Villas title hopes, the play-offs are still within touching distance and a win away at over-achieving Barnsley could kick-start Di Matteo’s Lions’ campaign
Here’s three ways of making sure it happens…
3. Knowing Your Role
With the disappointing start of the season, we have seen Di Matteo deploy three formations. A simple 4-4-2 to start the season up until the Ipswich match two games ago only seemed to shine a light on Villa’s defensive fragilities as the midfield failed to hold together to see out leads as the unbalance caused by having too many attackers on the field.
Against Ipswich a 3-5-2 was then concocted and spat out a miserable 0-0 draw which was followed up by Newcastle tearing Villa apart in the first half in the match that followed. With the wing backs of Bacuna and Amavi being caught out too often, this experiment is better off being left on the whiteboard.
However, with the introduction of Tshibola at half-time versus Newcastle, Villa played with balance and organisation. Taking the game to the Magpies and fully deserving the draw at the end of the game despite the first half mauling speaks volumes on what a solid formation can do for a team. Maintaining this formation for the match against Barnsley could be key in picking up our second win of the campaign, especially as having a three man midfield would bolster our defensive shape when facing a very threatening Barnsley attack.