ASTON VILLA may have bolstered their attacking options — but it has had a far greater impact on their ability to defend.
Dean Smith’s men are starting this season on a real high with two wins from two and two clean sheets.
Aston Villa’s defence has improved under Dean Smith despite spending money on attackers[/caption]
And boss Smith will be far more pleased with keeping goals out, rather than scoring them, seeing as they failed to keep a single clean sheet away from home last season.
In fact, before their 3-0 win at Fulham, they had managed just three shutouts in their previous 19 games.
It is a run that saw them survive by the skin of their teeth last campaign — but they appear to have turned a corner in time to welcome champions Liverpool to Villa Park tomorrow night.
And the dramatic improvement at the back comes from their improvement up top.
In particular, the amount of pace and quality that they now have.
Bringing in the likes of Ross Barkley, Ollie Watkins, Matty Cash and Bertrand Traore to link up with John McGinn, Jack Grealish and Trezeguet means they are a real force on the counter-attack.
And that also means the defensive line can afford to be deeper.
In the past, because of the lack of creativity up front, the whole Villa team would be forced to push high up the pitch to get as many bodies forward as possible.
Aston Villa beat Fulham 3-0 last Monday to maintain their 100 per cent start[/caption]
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That left them badly exposed and that’s where the majority of their losses came in the Premier League last term.
Now, that space in behind is no longer there.
The back four are able to sit and be more compact, while the frontline does the business when they retain possession.
And unlike previous seasons, talisman Grealish finally has multiple runners and passing options — rather than having to do it all himself.
Villa are a different prospect and have another dimension to their game that makes them dangerous.
I remember speaking to Smith previously, who admitted they needed to bring in quantity, rather than quality, when they were promoted.
This time, they have got quality and it will make them a force to be reckoned with.
By: William Pugh
Title: Aston Villa may have splashed cash on attackers this transfer window… but it’s their DEFENDING that has improved
Sourced From: www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/12834186/aston-villa-transfers-danny-higginbotham/
Published Date: Fri, 02 Oct 2020 21:45:52 +0000