Opposition Scouting Report: An In-Depth Look at Aston Villa
Jose Mourinho’s side will pay a visit to Villa Park on Saturday in the 24th round of Premier League fixtures to square up against Aston Villa.
The draw against Manchester City last week, was a fair result for us as we maintained our 5-point lead at the top of the table over the Citizens. The Blues will look to keep their hold on the title strong as we now turn our attention to our first game of the February.
Let’s have a look at our opponents in our Opposition Scouting Report:
THE TEAM AND THE RECENT FORM:
Aston Villa F.C. is a professional English football club based in Witton, Birmingham and have played in the Premier League since its inception in 1992. The club is one of the oldest and one of the most successful English clubs in the history of English football. They were the founder members of both, The Football League and the Premier League.
Villa won the 1981–82 European Cup and are thus one of the five English clubs to win what is now the UEFA Champions League. They have the fourth highest total of major honours won by an English club, having won the First Division Championship seven times (last won in the 1980–81 season), the FA Cup seven times (last won in 1957), the Football League Cup five times (last won in 1996) and the UEFA Super Cup once in 1982. The club has also produced more England national team players than any other side, currently having produced 72.
Since the past decade, however, the club is going through the worst phase in its history. They have been fighting for a place in the bottom half of the table avoiding relegation by a narrow margin in recent years. This season too, they are placed in 16th position with just 22 points in 23 games. Having managed just 5 wins, they have faced 11 losses and played 7 draws. The team managed by Paul Lambert has scored a mere number of 11 goals this season, not scoring any since their 1-1 draw with Manchester United on 20th December 2014, and conceded 30.
In their last 5 games in the Premier League, they have not managed any win, losing 3 and playing a draw in 2 matches. The Villans’ last game was a humiliating 5-0 defeat away to Arsenal.
FORMATION AND STYLE OF PLAY:
In 17 of their games this season, Aston Villa have lined up in a 4-3-3 formation. The Villans are regarded to have an all-or-nothing approach towards the game, which makes them an interesting team to watch. They have been known to win a game 2-0 in one week and end up losing 7-0 in another, from the last few seasons.
Lambert’s side are known to rotate the ball in their own half for most part of the game. Going forward, they like to play with width, with the three midfielders playing in an open triangle and the central defensive midfielder guarding the back four. Against pressing and possession-dominating sides, they are aggressive and are likely to make harsh tackles.
STRENGTH- KEY PLAYERS:
Tom Cleverly- The 25-year-old midfielder moved to Villa Park after a loan move from Manchester United in the summer transfer window. Although he has not proved himself to the standards of expectations, he has surely become a much more improved player from a regular bench warmer at Man United last season. Though Cleverly has not got any goals and assists to his name this season, he has been an effective player overall on the pitch. The improved statistics of tackles won, duels won, key passes and crucial interceptions are there in his favour.
Andreas Weimann- The 23-year-old forward has been one of the rare positives for Aston Villa this season. Statistically, he has been their best player with 3 goals and 2 assists. His 22 appearances for The Villans this season is remarkable in itself for a team with never ending injury issues. With 1.5 shots per goal, his shot accuracy stands at a creditable 55%. With Christian Benteke out of form, Weimann can be the go-to man and could well be the key to turning Villa’s fortunes against Chelsea.
The main problem for Villa is that Paul Lambert is tactically weak as a manager as he seems to play the same team nearly every week even though they are not getting positive results. This is a team that hasn’t won any of their last six league games, and their manager is doing absolutely nothing to change their fortune.
Any other manager in the league who would go six games without a win would drop players who aren’t performing well enough and introduce new players to the starting line-up or try a new formation or change the tactics but Paul Lambert changes nothing. As well as this, Lambert refuses to give young players at the club a chance.
HEAD TO HEAD:
The two sides have faced each other 142 times throughout their history. While Chelsea have won on 57 occasions, Villa have registered a win on 52 occasions. The two sides have settled for a draw 33 times.
The fixture at Villa Park last season saw the visitors Chelsea returning empty handed following a 1-0 loss. But things have changed a lot in between, with Chelsea playing their best football of the last few years and Villa struggling for points this season. Considering the most recent forms of both, we predict a 2-0 win for Chelsea.
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Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni and Harshal