Aston Villa - Formations and Players - Part 1
The formations used are 4411, 3421, 433, 442, and 4231. The table below looks at the formations and Points per game, Average Passing Percentage, Average Possession Percentage, Total Number of Shots, Total Number of Shot on Target, Average of Shot on Target versus Total Shots, Total Goals Scored, and finally Average Goal Conversion versus Total Shots.
Bruce has persisted with the 4411 for most of the season, and as the stats show it hasn't been overly successful. The most successful formation has been 442 after Kodjia returned from injury. The formation often seen outdated was also very successful Leicester in the Champions season in the Premier League.
Fans may ask how a small alteration can affect the results so drastically. The average passing and possession percentages are very similar, but that is where the similarities end. The two important stats are the conversion of shots to goals and the number of points per game. At the present rate, the 4411 formation will have the team ending the season with 66 points that would leave the club in 10th place in last years standings. The 442 formation would have the club finish on 92 points that would have been an automatic promotion spot.
The formation has had an effect but so have players. Much as been mentioned about the numbers of Aston Villa have had this season, especially to key players. The table below shows the effect that Terry, Kodjia, and Grealish have had on results.
The clubs star forward from last season as missed all but six games this season due to injuries. The introduction to him into the team this season alongside Keinan Davis in a 442 formation took our average points per game to 2.13 versus 1.31 when he hasn't played. This is a difference between champions form or mid-table obscurity. Much as been said about Kodjai this season, he is selfish, and he hasn't been missed, the stats don't support that and he will continue to be missed until he returns from ankle surgery. Bruce has only tried the formation once since Kodija was injured against Fulham, and that was in a 2-1 defeat at home to Sheff Wed. This was the same game where Villa was stunned by a goal wonder goal in the first minute, and Terry left the field after 20 minutes through injury. With the shortage of forwards due to further injuries to Gabby and Hogan, Bruce has resorted to his less successful 4411 formation.
Before the season started, Bruce said he wanted to build the team around Grealish. An unfortunate kidney injury kept Grealish out of the first fifteen games. Since then, he has played six games as a substitute, and two games where he has started. Since is return to the team, Villa's points per game have dropped from 1.73 to 1.33. Bruce may need to rethink how he uses Grealish and see if he can use him in a 442 formation.
The most successful team (442)this season has been, Johnstone, Hutton, Taylor, Chester, Terry, Snodgrass, Adomah, Whelan, Hourihane, Kodija, and Davis. With a number of the players out injured, and some needing a rest maybe Bruce can use players such as Elphick, Jedinak, Grealish, Omonah, Elmo, and Hogan to fill some of the holes and move back to the succesful formation.
Injuries have played their part and seen a drop in points when key players are out. This may make Bruce look at his recruitment because no team is going to go through a season with just eleven players. He needs to make sure he has ready-made replacements.
In part 2 of this blog, I will the difference between the 4411 and 442 formations.