Normally, international breaks are quite boring for Aston Villa fans. This time though? Oh it has all kicked off.
For a long while, it looked as though Steve Bruce’s replacement would add a little ‘va va voom’ to the squad with Thierry Henry set to take over with John Terry as his assistant. However, AS Monaco had other ideas. The French club provide an appealing opportunity for Henry, who started his career at the club in 1994, so it was no surprise that Villa’s offer was suddenly turned down.
It left the club’s owners looking back at their drawing board but one name would provide the answer to their challenge. Dean Smith has done a wonderful job during his time at Brentford and his links with Villa from his childhood made this one a no brainer on all levels. With Terry still coming in by his side, the club have now set themselves up with a coaching staff to help build their project.
Smith’s attacking style should suit the abundance of talent at his disposal and the fans are showing their full support as tickets were quickly snapped up for the home game against Swansea City on Saturday.
One man who could benefit from the change of management is Scott Hogan. The striker scored nine goals last term, but has failed to make a match-day squad this season due to injuries and Bruce’s tactical decisions. Smith got the best out of Hogan at Brentford and spoke about the striker in his media round-up on Tuesday.
He said: “He knows how I work. He also knows he will have to work hard. I will be respectful to him as long as I am getting the work on the pitch. It is a big football club to come into.
“He came in as No.9 and probably didn’t get the goals he needed to hit the ground running. That is our job now. To make sure if it is him, Tammy or Jonathan, they hit the ground running with the goals.
“He will figure like everyone else. I’ve worked with Scott. I know what he’s about. He obviously hasn’t hit the ground running at Aston Villa but he certainly has the potential to do it but so has Tammy and Jonathan.
“I will be treating everyone the same with the respect they deserve.”
The international break may prove to be an opportunity for some of the outcasts of the Villa team such as Henri Lansbury, Micah Richards and others. Smith had the opportunity to work closely with the players not on international duty this week so a surprise inclusion for a few of those players could be in the works.
During his time at Brentford, Smith set up with a tactic that saw his team press their opponents and win the ball back quickly. When they have the ball, the team press with pace and power which is a style that we could see implemented starting at Villa Park on Saturday.
Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that Smith’s tactical style for his Villa team is unknown at the moment. Everyone will be watching on with interest to see how the Claret and Blue line up on Saturday afternoon.
In terms of injuries, Villa will be without both Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Keinan Davis while Mile Jedinak is doubtful to return from his groin strain.
Predicted Aston Villa starting line-up to play Swansea City: Nyland; Hutton, Chester, Tuanzebe, Taylor; McGinn, Hourihane, Grealish; Bolasie, Abraham, Kodjia
THE NUMBERS THAT MATTER
- The last Villa manager to win his first league game as manager was John Gregory in 1998 with Liverpool beaten 2-1 on the 28th
- Villa have lost each of their last five games against the Swans with their last victory against Saturday’s opponent coming in September 2012.
- Both Jonathan Kodjia and Oli McBurnie lead their club’s goalscoring charts so far with both strikers scoring four goals this season.
Written by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)
IMAGES CREDIT: AVFC