Aston Villa’s main problem lies with the midfield and their inability to create chances, and thus goals, for the forward players.
When you look at the league table and see that Aston Villa have scored 26 goals in 26 games you look towards the strikers and question their goal-scoring ability. They are paid to put the ball in the net and this statistic proves they are not doing that often enough. I believe with this squad of players the main problem lies with the midfield and their inability to create chances for the forward players.
The assist records of the middle men support my point: Bacuna has 1 assist, Jedinak has 2, Tshibola, Westwood and Gardner have zero between them. Albert Adomah leads the way in terms of assists with 5 but the real concern I have is the centre of the midfield is where the engine room should be and the tempo of the play should be dictated but Villa have often bypassed this area of the pitch when attacking and that cannot continue.
Even from the very few assists the Villa midfield do record, can we even call all of them assists? I associate an assist more with being a defence-splitting pass or a brilliant cross but take the case of Mile Jedinak, his 2 assists have been long hopeful balls from the halfway line more or less up to Kodjia who has to produce a bit of magic to score on both occasions. The striker in this case has plenty of work to do to net and the assist goes to the last team-mate who touched the ball, doesn’t sound much like an assist to me.
More from Claret Villans
- Aston Villa dismiss Everton for first win of Premier League season
- Tyrone Mings injured in Aston Villa’s season-opening 5-1 defeat
- Aston Villa draw Hibernian or FC Luzern for Europa Conference League play-off
- Aston Villa sign winger Moussa Diaby from Bayer Leverkusen
- Aston Villa close in on deal to sign Pau Torres from Villareal
It’s nice to see Steve Bruce recognises the need for more creativity and guile in the centre of the pitch by going after both Conor Hourihane and Henri Lansbury. The deal for Lansbury is expected to be completed soon and this is a step in the right direction. He has managed 3 assists in the league this season – the same as Villa’s midfield combined along with netting 5 times which will actually make him Villa’s 2nd highest scorer should the deal get done.
So I do slightly feel for Villa forwards who are criticised for the lack of threat up front because they need supply – think of about how many clear cut chances the forwards have gotten recently, aside from McCormack’s header against Wolves, not many at all as the ball keeps getting hopefully punted up to the strikers which defenders deal with easily.
The second ball is won by the opposition and the cycle begins again, no urgency in the midfield to win it back and actually give the strikers a chance to have the ball at their feet.
Not that the forwards are entirely blameless but a creative spark in the midfield is needed to get the best out of strikers – just look at the amount of assists Ozil gets every year, he loves laying on chances for team mates and when he’s missing suddenly the supply to Arsenal’s strikers is restricted and Giroud and co. struggle.
Looking closer to home for Villa and you’ve probably noticed that since Jonjo Shelvey was out for a few matches the goals dried up for previously free-scoring Newcastle and the game he comes back in they knock 3 past Blues.
Shows the importance of a creator-in chief.