Blog by: My Old Man Said
If there was a referendum amongst supporters as to what player Aston Villa should bring in before the transfer window closes shut, that’s no doubt the unanimous verdict would be for an attacking-midfielder. We’ve already covered the need and potential improvement such a player would bring to the Villa team from the scientific and Zone 14 point-of-view to the overriding ideology of the player being Villa’s key missing link.
At the moment, Villa possess a potent threesome up front in the shape of Christian Benteke, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann, who are improving with every game that passes. Currently, left in the main, to combine and fashion their own chances, they lack that vital link to truly unlock their true potential and opposition defences.
If Benteke has another decent season and a fabulous World Cup, chances are he’ll try to force a move to play Champions League football after this season. So Villa need to take advantage of his presence now. Who knows? Judging by last year’s League Cup run, it could potentially be the difference to winning a trophy.
The consideration of an attacking midfielder to combine, release and maximize Villa’s front three should be a matter for the present and not the future. Just look at River Plate’s ‘Quatro Fantásticos’ aka Fantastic Four, that former Villa favourite Juan Pablo Angel was a member of, before he came to Villa Park.
Angel, alongside Javier Saviola, Ariel Ortega, and Pablo Aimar were a brilliant and clever attacking foursome that set the Argentine Primera Division alight and brought River Plate a long-awaited league title in 1999.
As we saw when Liverpool came to Villa Park, teams are now wary of the threat of the Villa’s front three and will close down the space and channels by keeping a disciplined shape of two banks across the front of the 18-yard box. The key to unlock that set-up, would be a talented attacking midfielder.
In football, like in the case of Marvel superheroes, there’s a reason it’s not ‘The Fantastic Three’. In a 4-3-3 system and variations of it, four attack-minded heads are better than three when it comes from progressive link-up play from midfield. A midfielder allows the front three to exercise their attacking menace from starting points higher up the pitch, or, for example, if Benteke comes deep to hold the ball up, to create an option with intelligent forward runs to split or draw defenders.
So come on Villa, let’s really go for it this season. Take advantage of Benteke staying and lets give this season, to use a quote of Paul Lambert, ‘a right good go’. UTV