Wesley has a real chance at silencing his doubters against Bournemouth at Villa Park.
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Aston Villa’s new Brazilian striker could make a meal of a Bournemouth defence that’s had trouble with more physical strikers in the past few seasons.
The 22 million pound acquisition of Wesley from Club Brugge did not come without a little bit of intrigue. Wesley isn’t a prototypical Brazilian talent; relying more on the physical aspects of football than often witnessed. While the defence of Bournemouth under manager Eddie Howe is generally well organised, there is no such thing as planning for a wild card like Wesley and other similar strikers like him in the Premier League.
Bournemouth’s first match against Sheffield United this season saw them play an ordinary-yet-not-ordinary system of three defenders and two identifiable wing-backs. This is not a secret of how Howe likes to deploy his team, albeit often switching to a traditional 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 at times. Against Sheffield United, the three centre-backs for Bournemouth were Nathan Ake, Steve Cook and Chris Mepham.
Mepham was declared Man Of The Match, yet more likely for being the only scorer for Bournemouth against The Blades. Of the three deployed Bournemouth defenders, Nathan Ake is the shortest at 5’11”. Ake is considered a very good defender at 24-years old, but could be in an area of the pitch that Dean Smith would obviously try to exploit as Ake is the most left centre-back in a three defender set-up.
If Wesley is to get off the mark for Aston Villa against Bournemouth, isolating Wesley and Ake into one-on-one situations could be massively beneficial. The wide threat of Trézéguet will also be present if he can drag Ake away from his natural position, opening up even more space for Wesley to operate on and off of the ball. Nathan Ake lost the ball in his own half on 149 occasions when playing away last season. Averaging to 6 losses per game, this should whet the appetite of the more attack-minded Aston Villa players.
Wesley didn’t have the best of times for Aston Villa in his first game against Tottenham, but there are more than a panoply of reasons to why that may have happened. Strength of opposition, Villa’s slightly sloppy passing display and Wesley’s inability to create chances were not ideal for Villa supporters to witness. Coming to a new league in a new country with new teammates is not going to be easy for any footballer and Wesley will grow to the task in time.
Villa supporters were confused to the ways in which it looked like Wesley was on an island against Tottenham. If Dean Smith and his coaching staff get it right, the Aston Villa midfield will provide a raft of sorts to enable Wesley to do his best work versus The Cherries. In the event that Bournemouth manager Howe does stick with the formation he used against Sheffield Wednesday, Villa will be looking to overpower and dominate the midfield areas in abundance.
Playing with only two midfield players and three strikers, Bournemouth must be weary of Dean Smith’s ability to modify his tactics throughout the course of a game. Smith has shown in his tenure as Aston Villa manager that he can focus on certain parts of the pitch as well as any manager with the players afforded to him. Villa’s midfield is the talk of most of their supporters and all offensive play generally stems from the engine room then bringing in wide players who push up the pitch. This opens the door for players like Anwar El Ghazi and Trezeguet to exploit Bournemouth with incisive runs from the wide areas of the pitch to cause situational confusion for the defence of Ake, Cook and Mepham.