David Moyes will be hoping to capitalise on the significant momentum generated by Monday night’s exploits against a Villa side looking for a win in Paul Lambert’s first home game in charge of the club. ..
Villa Last Season
Its unlikely any Villa fans were sad to see the back of the hapless Big Eck and his safety first, slow and dour brand of football. Villa were largely shite for the most part of the previous campaign with their matches the footballing equivalent of attending a Keane concert.
The Villains struggled to score goals and despite having some old school groc’s in their back line such as Dunne and Collins had an inability to defend the aerial ball into their 18 yard box resulting in a campaign where safety was only ensured in the latter weeks of the season.
New boss Paul Lambert’s summer has been spent sifting through the debris of squads expensively assembled by previous managers with contrasting football ideologies.
Lambert is a very intelligent coach who has shown in his managerial career to date he is happy to radically change personnel, formations and tactics game to game and for me he was the obvious like for like candidate should Moyes have walked in the summer. Like Moyes, he is reactive in the sense of being willing to deploy specific tactics to nullify an identified threat game to game. He is also capable of switching things in the attacking phase; in the 2-2 draw with his Norwich side last season he seamlessly shifted from a 4-4-1-1 to a midfield diamond with 2 out and out strikers to rescue a point after we had been in control at 2-1. Its thus difficult to second guess his personnel or tactics but given the limited options at his disposal I’d go for him opening up in a 4-2-3-1 with Holman (left) Ireland (centre) and N’Zogbia (right) providing narrow support to Darren Bent up top. It will be something of a new look side with Ahmadi (distributor) and Delph (runner) the two anchor men in midfield. Lowton and Baker are two promising if albeit inexperienced fullbacks who will be sandwiched by new signing Vlaar and Cieran Clark in the CB slots.
Villa’s opening game with West Ham was eerily similar to our game with Man Utd stats wise. Like ourselves, West Ham had minimal possession (34%) and significantly less touches overall yet had more touches in the opposition 18 yard box than Villa did in theirs. The Hammer’s winning goal showed that Villa are still susceptible to the aerial ball into their box which will be an area Moyes will look to exploit.
I’d be surprised if there was much change personnel wise from Monday. Strategy wise I’d expect Villa to come at us which will suit our counter attacking approach; expect a deep toffee line with plenty of men behind the ball to mitigate the threat of Bent’s pace in behind especially early on in the game. As noted, Villa have an achilles heel for defending crosses into their box so again I’d expect us to mix things up with diagonals targeting Fellaini with Jela, Pienaar and Osman (who has a very good scoring record against Villa) looking to pick up the second balls. Mirallas will probably start from the bench and I’d be surprised if he didn’t get 30 mins given the inexperience of Villa’s fullbacks especially if we are chasing the game.
Its really difficult to see any other outcome than a draw. Moyes two games with Lambert last season ended in stalemate as did our games vs Villa – the sixth draw in the last seven meetings between the clubs. Youwin offer the best price of 38-25 for a toffee win with Villa at 24/11 with Pinnacle. The draw is a best priced 12-5 with Paddy Power.
5 to ponder;
11/12 Both teams to score (32red)
6/1 for a 1-1 draw ( betfred)
8/1 Mirallas last scorer (skybet)
5/1 Fellaini scores anytime / Everton win double (Willie Hills)
11/1 Osman scores anytime / Match drawn double (Willie Hills)