Aston Villa latest news: Dean Smith's £53m experiment still isn't paying off | OneFootball

Aston Villa latest news: Dean Smith's £53m experiment still isn't paying off

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Journalist Luke Hatfield believes that Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings are not performing well as a partnership at Aston Villa yet.

After signing Ings for £25m back in August, it was always going to be interesting to see how the two forwards would be utilised this season. They have been paired together in recent weeks, but Hatfield is not convinced it's working.

What's the latest news with Watkins and Ings?

The duo have started each of Villa's last four top-flight matches, which have brought mixed results, with the team losing to Chelsea and Tottenham either side of beating Everton and Manchester United.

Looking at the individual performances of Watkins and Ings, neither man has found top form at this stage. The former got off the mark for the campaign against Tottenham on Sunday, but has also wasted numerous chances in front of goal, while Ings has failed to score in his last five league appearances after finding the net in each of his first two matches for Villa when Watkins was out injured.

What has Hatfield said about the Watkins-Ings partnership?

Hatfield has claimed that there is still plenty of work to do before the partnership starts flourishing.

Having commented on Watkins scoring against Tottenham, Hatfield went on to tell GIVEMESPORT: “He still needs to kind of build that relationship with Danny Ings because it’s not quite clicking yet.”

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How long will Dean Smith stick with playing Watkins and Ings together?

Given that Watkins cost Villa £28m last summer, meaning that the Midlands club spent a combined total of £53m on him and Ings, it is unsurprising that Dean Smith wants the pair on the pitch at the same time.

In order to achieve this, he has taken a big gamble by switching away from his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation to a 3-5-2 system, and he has consistently left big-money signings Emiliano Buendia and Leon Bailey out of his starting line-up.

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Right now, the experiment of playing two up front is not working particularly well, and Smith may need to consider altering things once more. One option would be to move back to a 4-2-3-1 setup, which could then see Watkins and Bailey on the wings, Buendia in the No. 10 position and Ings up top.

Then again, by doing this he would have to drop one of his central midfielders, and the most likely candidate to miss out would be Jacob Ramsey, who has done very little wrong since coming into the side.

Whether Smith chooses to do this remains to be seen, but there is certainly plenty for the Villa boss to ponder over the international break.

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