Problems Aston Villa Must Address to Remain in the Premier League

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Aston Villa
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 16: Aston Villa manager Dean Smith before the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park on February 16, 2020 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Visionhaus)

Aston Villa suffered defeat again this weekend after Tottenham Hotspur scored in injury time to win 3-2. The result leaves Dean Smith’s side with just one win in their last five Premier League fixtures and one point outside the relegation places.

Problems Aston Villa Must Address to Remain in the Premier League

Villa created some excellent chances in the attacking third and had opportunities to put the game beyond Spurs. But errors from Bjorn Engels ultimately cost his side. He gave away a penalty for a foul on Steven Bergwijn. Then, In the last minute, Bjorn missed the ball completely, allowing Son to break away and score the winner.

Villa’s approach is to be positive and attack teams, but similar mistakes are being made every week. If these problems aren’t addressed the East Midlands side could be facing a tough relegation battle.

Missing Goal-Scoring Opportunities

Despite being the highest scorers in the bottom half of the table, Villa’s missed chances are costing them. Dean Smith’s side attempt around 13 shots on goal per game, the eighth highest in the Premier League. They also missed 27 big chances in the league this season with forward Anwar El Ghazi missing six.

These missed chances will be felt particularly hard after the Spurs loss and the 2-1 loss to Bournemouth at the beginning of February. Douglas Luiz missed from six-yards against Spurs with the game at 1-0 which could have been decisive. Jack Grealish also missed some excellent chances to take the lead and equaliser against Bournemouth.

Giving up Winning Positions

Villa often scored first this season due to their attacking setup. They have started games brightly and opened the scoring in 10 of their 26 Premier League games this season. However, they only managed to gain three points from four of these fixtures.

Their inability to finish off games saw them drop 16 points so far this season, including against Spurs, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.

Concerns in Defence

A major concern at Villa is their poor record of conceding from set-pieces. They conceded from another corner against Spurs on Sunday when Toby Alderweireld was allowed space to turn and finish in the penalty area. This was Villa’s 14th goal conceded from a set-piece this season, the highest in the Premier League.

There is also concern about huge gaps left when defending. Villa set up with a high line and like to pressurise opposition but this over-commitment has cost them points all season. They have conceded the second-most goals in the league from counter attacks (5).

Bergwijn won the penalty on Sunday by easily running in behind the Spurs defence and was allowed time and space easily. Similarly, for Son’s winner, a long ball bypassed the defence and found Son unmarked with so much time and space to finish.

Being more defensively minded would contradict Villa’s philosophy under Smith. But if they are to stay up, a balance needs to be found between defence and attack.

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