Aston Villa Guide
Villa have recently fallen on hard times, both financially and on the pitch. There once champions league place chasing team has been dismantled and replaced with a young and hungry approach. There is no money to spend thus trimming the squad can be done to bring in a few players that are needed for a successful season. Sadly you will not be able to bring in too many players thus this season is about developing ones you already have and maintaining a top 12 finish. The backroom staff are adequate although a few quality coaches may be looked at as the season progresses.
£0 – Transfer Fees
+75k – Wage Budget
Shay Given – 3 ½ star
Brad Guzan - 3 ½ star
Benjamin Siegrist - 1 star – 2 ½ star
A strong position set for Villa. Both Guzan and Given make for good starting keepers with Siergrist a decent prospect who can keep the 3rd slot without taking up a squad place. Guzan shows a slightly better attribute set in key areas, yet try both and see which fits best.
Alan Hutton - 2 ½ star
Matthew Lowton - 2 ½ star – 3 star
Stephen Warnock - 3 star
Joe Bennett – 2 star – 2 ½ star
Eric Lichaj – 2 star
Villa seem fairly week here. Warnock will do for a season but is definitely on the decline as a footballer. Bennett and Lowton are both young full backs however only Lowton can command a starting spot. Hutton is a fairly poor defending full back however can cause problems for the opposition as an attacking full back option. Warnock can be given 1 season until he is out of contract and released on a free unless you want to accept a very cut price offer for him straight off with no real funds to replace. Lichaj can be sold or loaned as he is surplus to requirements. Oscar Wendt available at 1.5 mil is a decent acquisition on the cheap.
Richard Dunne - 4 star
Ron Vlaar 4 - star
Ciaran Clark - 3 star – 3 ½ star
Nathan Baker – 2 star - 3 star
With Richard Dunne staring off the game out for around 2 months, it may be worth looking into a loan deal. Dunne’s natural fitness is a concern as is his age, however he is a solid dependable centre back to partner Vlaar. Clark offers good back up with a viable starting offer. Baker as well is a good choice for 4th choice. Michael Mancienne can make for a cheapish replacement for Dunne at little over 1.5 mil. His pace will certainly come into play in a fairly ageing a slow defence.
Charles N’Zogbia – 3 ½ star
Marc Albrighton – 2 ½ star – 3 ½ star
Brett Holman – 2 ½ star
Gabby Agbonlahor – 4 star
With the players here all favouring to be on the right flank and pushed up as AM R/L, it is worth using N’Zogbia on the right and Agbonlahor as a makeshift left AM until you gather some funds to improve the left flank. Holman is solid back up and Albrighton can push for first team easily. An ageing Albert Riera can be a short term cheap option on the transfer market.
Ashley Westwood – 2 ½ star – 3 star
Karim El Ahamadi – 3 star
Barry Bannan – 2 star – 3 star
Fabian Delph – 2 ½ star – 3 ½ star
Gary Gardner – 2 star – 4 star
Chris Herd – 2 star
Stephen Ireland – 3 ½ star
Again Villa have a strength in depth with younger players such as Gary Gardner and Fabian Delph having high potential ratings. Chris Herd is surplus to requirements and Barry Bannan may be offloaded for funds as there is enough strength in depth to play without him. Ireland is easily the best play here when put in an AM role. If you play 5 in midfield as this guide suggests you may consider loaning an AM such as Nick Powell for depth.
Jordan Bowery – 2 ½ star
Darren Bent - 3 ½ star
Gabby Agbonlahor – 4 star
Andi Wiemann – 2 star – 3 ½ star
Christian Benteke 2 ½ star – 4 star
Depending on whether you employ Agbonlahor as a winger, there is good strength and depth here. Bent is a proven finisher and can play with support or without. Use Ireland off the striker in an AM role or Benteke. Bowery can be loaned out then sold season after as he is not good enough. Wiemann and Benteke are both fantastic back up players with great potential. Utilise throughout the season.
Villa seem to have an abundance of quantity over quality. There are a number of players that are surplus to requirements and many that can be sold after a season (Westwood/Bowery/Given) and some that can be sold in January (Dunne Warnock) so they are not released on a free. Players such as Westwood can be used late on to shore up the midfield and Benteke to add pace and guile against a tiring defence.
4-5-1 is this users favoured tactic (Counter) with El Ahamadi and Delph playing deep lying CM roles (Ball winning midfielder /// Deep lying Playmaker) and Ireland as AM (Attacking). Agbonlahor and N’Zogbia can be employed as AM R/L (Inside forward /// Winger). Use quck passing down the wings, and plenty of through balls for bent. Set El Ahamadi as playmaker and sit the defence fairly deep as they are not blessed with pace. Let Ireland shoot frequently and put through balls for Bent. Play through the wings and you should get 4 attacking players with pace and guile to finish off many teams.